Supersonic collision: Watch the moment a Houthi missile is intercepted by Saudi air defence

Ballistic missiles can now be intercepted despite travelling at speeds of more than 2 kilometres per second

On Saturday, Arab coalition forces in Saudi Arabia intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile and six explosive drones launched by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels towards Riyadh.

Video of the incident appears to show a missile – probably a Patriot missile interceptor – smashing into a Houthi missile, probably a Burkan-3, which is a similar design to the Russian Scud missile.

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.

While it has not yet been confirmed that this was the variant used, the interception unleashed a massive amount of energy and white-hot glowing debris is visible in the sky.

"Joint Coalition Forces have intercepted and destroyed yesterday evening [Saturday] and this morning [Sunday] a ballistic missile and six 'booby-trapped' drones launched systematically and deliberately by the terrorist Houthi militia to target civilians and civilian objects in the southern region, Jazan and Khamis Mushait," said Coalition spokesman Col Turki Al Malki.

The ballistic missile, or at least a part of it, fell onto a house in Riyadh, causing some damage. One photo from the scene appeared to show part of the engine.

Part of an intercepted missile is seen on the roof of house in the aftermath of what Saudi-led coalition said was a thwarted Houthi missile attack, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 27, 2021, Picture taken February 27, 2021. Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY

"The Joint Forces will continue to implement all necessary operational procedures to safeguard civilians and civilian objects in accordance with the customary International Humanitarian Law," concluded Col Al Malki.

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