On December 1, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) announced that their air defenses had shot down a Chinese-made Rainbow CH-4 combat drone of the Saudi-led coalition over northern Yemen.
In a statement, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said that the drone was conducting “hostile acts” over the area of Alamashya when it was shot down with a “ground-to-air” missile. Alamashya is located along the administrative border between the provinces of Saada and Amran.
The Houthis shared footage showing the moment the drone was shot down and its wreckage. Within a few minutes, Saudi-led coalition warplanes carried out two airstrikes on the drone crash site.
The CH-4 was developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation to carry out reconnaissance and combat missions. The Saudi military purchased an unknown number of the drone a few years ago.
This was the fifth CH-4 combat drone of the Saudi-led coalition to be shot down over Yemen by the Houthis’ air defenses this year.
- On February 12, a CH-4 drone was shot down over the district of Meghdal in the central province of Ma’rib;
- On March 23, a CH-4 drone was shot down over an unspecified part of Ma’rib;
- On May 23, a CH-4 drone was shot down over the district of al-Maraziq in the northern province of al-Jawf;
- On October 6, a CH-4 drone was shot down over the district of al-Jubah in Ma’rib.
The Houthis’ air defense forces stepped up their operations this year. So far, at least 15 drone have been shot down by the group.
Air-defense systems used by the Houthis varies from MANPADs [man-portable air-defense systems] to upgraded Soviet medium-range systems and air-to-air missiles which were modified to be launched from the ground.