Clip of missiles hitting ships is from video game Arma 3 (not the Red Sea)

16 February 2024
What was claimed

A video seemingly showing missiles hitting ships shows a naval battle in the Red Sea.

Our verdict

This is footage from the video game Arma 3 and does not depict a real-world incident.

A video circulating on social media platforms X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, appearing to show missiles hitting a ship, has been posted alongside captions that could be interpreted to mean the video depicts real missile attacks in the Red Sea. The captions claim the HMS Diamond was seriously damaged, and that the “USS Labone” [sic] was targeted, but we’ve not found evidence of these incidents. 

The video is gameplay footage from the military simulation video game Arma 3

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Gameplay footage

The footage has been shared alongside captions that claim British and American ships were attacked in the Red Sea by Houthis between 6 and 7 February.

In the 24-second clip posted on X and Facebook, two ships can initially be seen in the distance. There’s what appears to be an initial explosion on one ship, before two glowing missiles travel from right to left across the screen, passing multiple ships before striking one. 

As others have pointed out, this footage appears to be a clip taken from this 25 minute video on YouTube. While it is titled ‘INSTANT REACTION FROM IRAN! Houthi Cruise Missile sinks US aircraft carrier near Yemen’, the video’s description says it is “NOT real footages [sic], just Arma 3 gameplay”. It also says “This video was created using content of Bohemia Interactive a.s.” and “Copyright 2013 Bohemia Interactive a.s. All rights reserved”. 

Bohemia Interactive is the video game developer and publisher that created Arma 3. 

At 10 '57, the YouTube video appears to match the footage used in the social media posts, although the resolution is lower than in the original video. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Arma 3 gameplay footage appear on social media alongside claims it shows real-world events in Israel and Gaza. We’ve also fact checked posts claiming footage from the game was filmed in Ukraine

Misleading videos and images often spread widely online in the wake of significant global events. For further advice on how to verify videos before you share them, read our guide. Bohemia Interactive have also written a helpful guide to distinguishing videos from their game to real-word footage. 

Claims about Red Sea attacks

The Facebook posts, which were uploaded on 7 February, have been shared with very similar captions. 

The posts say that “in the past 24 hours” there has been a “naval battle” in the “Red Sea”, and mention “attacks on Israel-linked ships”, specifically the “US Navy USS Labone [sic]” and the “British warship HMS Diamond”. The posts say “four ships have been targeted so far”. 

The posts allege that the HMS Diamond “suffered damage by the Houthis, leading to its withdrawal for repairs”. 

On X, the post says: “The Red Sea has witnessed a naval battle over the last 24 hours, with four ships including the US Navy USS Labone [sic], coming under ballistic missile attacks from the Houthis.”

We’ve not found evidence that the HMS Diamond or USS Laboon were targeted with ballistic missiles between 5 and 7 February. The USS Laboon was previously targeted by a missile on at least one occasion, and the HMS Diamond was targeted by a drone in January. 

There was a wave of attacks on ships in the Red Sea at the beginning of February, including on 6 February—which could possibly fall under the “last 24 hours” mentioned in the posts. 

Two ships—the British ship Morning Tide and the Greek-owned Star Nasia—were targeted on 6 February. The Star Nasia was damaged.

The HMS Diamond was withdrawn on 6 February to “undergo a period of maintenance and resupply”, according to the Royal Navy. While it said the ship had “came under fire in three separate attacks by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels”, we’ve not been able to find reports that it was damaged on 6 or 7 February, as the posts allege. 

When we asked the Royal Navy about the claim made in the Facebook posts, a spokesperson said: “HMS Diamond is an air defence destroyer, which has been directly involved in successfully destroying Houthi drones targeting shipping in the Red Sea. It is Ministry of Defence policy not to discuss the detailed requirements of our operational vessels.”

Image courtesy of Paul Punter and the Ministry of Defence.

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