The Hellenic Navy frigate Hydra fired at two unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, resulting in their departure from the area.

Sources in the Greek defense ministry, who wished to remain anonymous, said the warship’s bow-mounted 5-inch (127mm) MK 45 naval gun fired at the UAVs.

According to reports in To Vima, the warship was escorting a commercial vessel owned by Italian interests when it spotted the UAVs and fired at them, as the incident marks the Hydra’s first combat encounter in the region.

Deployed since Monday, the Hydra is part of the European Union’s Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) “OPERATION ASPIDES”, which aims to safeguard international shipping. The operation is an EU defensive maritime security operation under the EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP).

The Hydra is presently patrolling the Gulf of Aden, a focal point for commercial vessels navigating through the volatile zone prone to attacks by Yemen-based Houthi rebels, which means it is expected to continue having a vital role in security the safety of vessels in the region.

Following the formation of a convoy, the Hydra, along with the German frigate Hessen, closely escorts commercial vessels. Subsequently, approximately 140 nautical miles northwest from the gathering point, they transfer control to the Italian destroyer Caio Duilio, which assumes responsibility for the convoy until it reaches the international waters of the Red Sea.

The frigate remains dedicated to its mission, collaborating with allied vessels in the area. Its primary objective includes escorting commercial ships and coordinating closely with French, German, and Italian ships, alongside US and UK vessels involved in Operation “Prosperity Guardian.”

In the coming three months, the Greek frigate Hydra will be relieved by another warship, the frigate “Psara,” as announced by the ministry. The Psara is currently undergoing expedited upgrades and maintenance procedures.

The land headquarters for the Aspides operation is in the city of Larissa, which is located in central Greece.