On April 8, the Houthis’ media wing released a new episode of its “Jihad Fields” series, featuring the headquarters of the Saudi-led coalition near al-Hazim military camp in the northern province of al-Jawf.
The Houthis captured the headquarters, the nearby al-Hazim military camp and al-Hazim’s town center earlier this year in a large-scale operation. The attack was a major blow to the Saudi-led coalition and its local proxies.
In the new episode of Jihad Fields, the Houthis show off containers of large calibers projectiles, which had been left behind by Saudi forces. A field commander of the group claims in the video that the containers were for a Patriot air-defense system. However, the containers were in fact disposable rocket pods for the Astros II multiple rocket launcher system (MRLS).
Developed by Brazil’s Avibras, the Astros II MRLS features modular design and employs rockets with calibers ranging from 127 mm to 450 mm. The system is built on the basis of a Tectran VBT-2028 6×6 all-terrain vehicle.
The Saudi military operates at least 76 Astros II MRLS. The Kingdom has been using the system in Yemen since the early days of its intervention there in 2015.
Most of the pods seen in the new videos were for the SS-30 127 mm rocket, which has a range of up to 30 km. Each pod contains eight rockets of this type. Others were for the SS-40 180 mm rockets. The SS-40 range is 35 km, each of its pods carries four rockets only.
However, some of the pods were loaded with heaver caliber rockets, likely the SS-60 rocket that has a range of up to 60 km. The Saudi-led coalition is known to have used a cluster armed variant of this type in Yemen before.
None of the rocket pods captured by the Houthis appear to be loaded. However, the group may find a new use for them as launchers for its locally-made rockets. The group, which has limited resources, utilizes all the equipment captured from Saudi forces.