Saudi Arabia intercepts Houthi drone that targeted residential area

The bomb-laden aircraft was destroyed by air defences

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., June 19, 2018. Allegedly used Iranian weapons that have been used in Yemen.  A shot down drone on display.
Victor Besa / The National
Section:  NA
Requested by:   Jake Badger

The Saudi Arabian-led coalition in Yemen said on Friday it intercepted and destroyed an explosives-laden drone fired in the direction of Jazan in Saudi Arabia, which was launched by the Houthis in Yemen, state media confirmed.

The exploding drone sprayed debris on to some houses, according to the media spokesperson for the Civil Defence Directorate in Jazan, Colonel Mohammad Al Ghamdi.

Shrapnel fell on the residential neighbourhood in Uhud Al Masarha in Jazan, “which resulted in material damage to a number of houses and shops due to the scattering of the shrapnel," but there were no injuries or deaths, Col Al Ghamdi said.

The coalition, which intervened in Yemen in March 2015, has often retaliated on cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia with air strikes in Yemen.

In recent years, Saudi Arabian air and ground defences have become more effective at intercepting Houthi drones and ballistic missiles.

The United Nations said in January last year that Iran was continuing to support the Houthis with long-range weapons to target Saudi Arabia.

Previously, the non-governmental organisation Conflict Armament Research reported a purportedly indigenous Houthi drone, the Qasef-1, was in fact Iranian in origin.

"The Qasef-1 not only shares near-identical design and construction characteristics with the Iranian UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) but also features identical serial number prefixes. These features suggest that the Qasef-1 is an Iranian-designed variant of the Ababil-CH or Ababil-T,” the report said.

Saudi Arabia has responded to the drone launches by ramping up air defences, launching a higher frequency of interceptions with the Patriot missile system.

The latest PAC-3 variant of the Patriot missile can travel up to four times the speed of sound, which is about 5,000 kilometres per hour, and is configured to hit small, low flying drones, as well as high altitude ballistic missiles.

The Saudi Arabian air force is also flying F-15 missions against the drones.

Recent variants of the F-15 flown by the kingdom have a powerful radar capable of spotting the so-called “kamikaze drones” and shooting them down with AIM-9X air to air missiles.

Updated: October 2nd 2021, 10:36 AM
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