On February 26, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) released footage showing the wreckage of a US-made Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drone that was shot down by their air defenses over the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib a day earlier.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Houthis, said that the drone was shot down with a “suitable weapon” after counducting “hostile acts” over the district of al-Jubah.
The drone was of the ScanEagle 2 variant which has a top speed of 148 kilometers and an endurance of more than 16 hours. The ScanEagle 2 mainly used for reconnaissance missions. It is equipped with a day and night capable sensor, a fully digital video system and an advanced navigation system.
The US may have been using the downed drone to spy on Houthi forces in Ma’rib. Another possibility is that the drone was launched by the Saudi military. According to some reports, Saudi Arabia purchased a number of ScanEagle 2 systems from the US recently.
The ScanEagle 2 was not the only drone to be shot down by the Houthis’ air defenses over Yemen on February 25. The group also shot down a US-made General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone over the northern province of al-Jawf.
The Houthis possess several types of man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADs), upgraded Soviet-made 2K12 Kub medium-range air-defense systems as well as modified air-to-air missiles, such as Soviet-made, infrared-guided R-27T and R-73E.