Legion Magazine gives us a technical analysis of a Water-Borne Improvised Explosive Device of the type used by Houthi rebels to attack Saudi lead coalition forces and merchant ships in the vicinity of the Bab-el-Mandeb Straits.
We have talked about these before, here and here. They are apparently radio controlled, 10 meter (33 foot), twin outboard powered boats, built in the UAE and donated to the Yemeni Navy for Coast Guard duties. As we learned earlier, the warhead was a 1000 pound shaped charge from a P-15 (Styx) missile.
The analysis shows construction of the circuit that would cause the explosive to detonate, how the throttle was worked, and speculated on the steering.
Really, making one of these is too simple. It is not impossible we will see something like this in the US. In the radio control hobby, we would call this a two channel control system, controlling only steering and throttle. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. As I speculated earlier, there was a video link from the WBIED to the operator. In addition, there was also a link to pass GPS information to the operator.
The analysis unfortunately does not tell us the frequencies used to control the boat or provide video from the boat, or to provide the GPS information from the boat to the control station. That information would give us an idea of the effective range of the system and provide the basis for electronic countermeasures. Presumably the information is available to those who have a need to know. There is a good chance these explosive boats are controlled from a vessel near by.
Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.