According to the last report of Conflict Armament Research, the Houthi forces actively use Iranian kamikaze-drones to hit the Patriot anti-aircraft weapon systems of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
In late February, four unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were presented in Yemen. The Qasef-1 kamikaze-drone, capable to carry a warhead of 30 kg, was among them. At that time, experts said that the Qasef-1 is the Iranian Ababil-2 UAV.
A new research of the Conflict Armament Research group is focused on supplies of these UAVs to Yemen. Apparently, they are shipped to Yemen in disassembled state through already known canals by sea and via Oman, bypassing the coalition’s blockade. In October of the last year, six of the drones were captured on a known Iranian smuggling route that runs through Oman.
But the most interesting fact is that these UAVs are already used to strike the MIM-104 Patriot anti-aircraft weapon systems of the Saudi coalition, deployed against Yemeni missiles. This information was provided to authors of the research by some unnamed military sources in the UAE.
“UAE forces report that Houthi and Saleh-aligned forces employ the Qasef-1 to target Coalition MIM-104 ‘Patriot’ surface-to-air missile systems,” the report reads. “While the Coalition deploys Patriot systems to counter missile threats, the destruction of the Patriots’ radar systems enables Houthi and Saleh-aligned forces to target Coalition assets with volleys of missile-fire unhindered.”
The identification of the Qasef-1 as a possible Iranian UAV variant comes almost two months after the Houthi forces used an explosive drone boat to attack a Saudi frigate. As commander of the US Fifth Fleet, Vice Adm. Kevin Donegan told the Defense News information portal, the drone boat probably had been supplied by Iran.
On Tuesday, the Reuters news agency reported about a recent meeting between head of the Iranian Quds Forces, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, with top military officials in Teheran. The meeting was focused on the issue of exploration of ways to better assist the Houthis. Reportedly, the meeting resulted in an influx of military equipment and advisers into the civil war.