Houthi’s Down Saudi Combat Drone Over Yemen, Evidence of Advanced Air Defenses

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The Houthis announced late on November 30 that their Air Defense Force had shot down an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) of the Saudi-led coalition over the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajjah.

A spokesman for the Yemeni group said that the UCAV, a Chinese-made Wing Loong, was downed while it was carrying out “hostile acts” over the district of Hayran in northern Hajjah.

“The hostilE warplane was targeted with a ground-to-air missile that will be revealed later,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari said, adding that a video of the operation will be released soon.

Developed by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, Wing Loong has a maximum range of 4,000 km and an endurance of up to 20 hours. The UCAV can be armed with air-to-surface laser-guided missiles and other types of munitions.

Earlier this week, the Houthis shot down a Saudi AH-64 Apache attack helicopter over northern Yemen. The helicopter’s pilot and gunner were both killed in the incident.

The Houthis are apparently working to further develop their air-defense capabilities, in terms of quality and quantity. The Yemen group had warned that 2020 would be the year of “air-defense.”

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