In the late hours of March 22, the Yemeni Air Defense Force, which is loyal to the Houthis, shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
“The air defense targeted an advance UAV with a suitable weapon over the area of Hamdan in Sanaa, directly hitting it and immediately shooting it down in the suburbs of the capital,” a military source told the al-Masirah TV.
The source added that the UAV was a US-made MQ-1 Predator and claimed that it was carrying out a reconnaissance sortie over the Yemeni capital. A video of the UAV’s wreckage was released by the Houthis’ media wing.
The MQ-1, which was first introduced by General Atomics in 1995, has a range of 1,200 km and an endurance of 24 hours. The domestic variants of the UAV can be armed with two AGM-114 Hellfire or up to six AGM-176 Griffin guided missiles for combat missions.
The CIA is known for operating an advanced variant of the MQ-1 over Yemen. However, the UAE military also possess and operates an unarmed variant of the UAV known as Predator XP.
While the identity of the UAV’s operator is still unclear, there is no doubt that shooting it down is a major achievement for the Houthis and their allies.