One of the UK’s most advanced warships is heading back to the Red Sea to protect global shipping from Houthi attacks. The warship HMS Diamond will take over from HMS Richmond, which joined the coalition to protect commercial shipping from Houthis “Operation Prosperity Guardian,” in February, the UK government said.

Few weeks ago, HMS Richmond successfully repelled a Houthi drone attack in the southern Red Sea, shooting down two attack drones using Sea Ceptor missiles. This is the first time a UK warship has fired a Sea Ceptor missile in combat.

The deployment is part of the UK’s broader response to Houthi attacks, which has also included intercepting weapon-smuggling to Yemen, imposing sanctions to hold members of the Houthis to account and conducting proportionate and targeted strikes against Houthi military targets in Yemen.

UK’s Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Protecting shipping around the world is one of the Navy’s key tasks and this deployment shows how our highly skilled sailors and advanced warships are helping to keep our sea lanes safe.

“Britain continues to be at the forefront of the international response to the Houthis’ dangerous attacks on commercial vessels, which have claimed the lives of international mariners.”

HMS Richmond, which left Plymouth at the beginning of January, is designed for a variety of operations and is fitted with a Sea Ceptor missile system, providing a powerful shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles.

After handing over to HMS Diamond, she will return to the UK for a period of maintenance and resupply.

HMS Diamond previously operated in the region in December and January, maintaining a near constant presence in the ‘high threat area’ of the Red Sea.

The destroyer came under fire in three separate attacks Houthi rebels, successfully destroying nine drones using her world-class Sea Viper missile system and guns.

HMS Diamond has sailed nearly 20,000 nautical miles on patrols since leaving Portsmouth at the end of November, almost enough to carry her around the globe, while her Wildcat helicopter has flown more than 53 hours of sorties over the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden making its crew the busiest in the Royal Navy.