(Bloomberg) -- The US military is blending spy satellite imagery and other intelligence with photos from MQ-9 Reaper drones to cue preemptive airstrikes against antiship missiles and unmanned aircraft that Houthis in Yemen are preparing to launch against ships in the Red Sea, the Air Force’s top Mideast official said.

“We have a layered intelligence, surveillance and collection strategy” over Yemen to harvest images and other information enabling rapid strikes on Houthi systems, Lieutenant General Alexus Grynkewich, the head of Air Forces Central, told a breakfast meeting of the Defense Writers Group in Washington on Wednesday.

“We’re rapidly ingesting any imagery we get from national sources” to layer with the Reaper imagery and other intelligence, he said, referring to systems normally managed by the National Reconnaissance Office or collected by other agencies. “We’re looking for the telltale signs that something is set up, something’s on a launcher, something’s ready to go.”

Grynkewich said assessing the current state of Houthi capabilities is difficult for lack of clarity on the militant group’s inventories before its attacks began in October, as well as the continued resupply of weapons by Iran, its patron. The Houthis have fired about 75 anti-ship missiles so far, he said.

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Still, “we have seen changes in their behavior” as the Houthis are not able to sustain attacks using “very large swarms” of drones, after continual US strikes, Grynkewich said. But “I suspect they’ll be able to do one as they husband their resources,” he said.

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