The Houthis announced late on March 14 that the Yemeni Air Defense Force had targeted three warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition over the northern Yemeni province of al-Jawf.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said air defense fire forced the warplanes, an F-15 and two F-16s, to abort their missions and withdrew from Yemen’s airspace.
“They [the warplanes] were forced out of the [Yemeni] airspace before they could conduct any aggression,” the spokesman said.
Saudi Arabia is the only member of the coalition that operates F-15s. F-16s are operated by several members, including the UAE.
According to Brig. Gen. Sari, the three coalition warplanes were targeted with a “Fatir-1” air-defense system. The Fatir-1 is a is a locally-upgraded Soviet-made SA-6 “Gainful” system that was revealed in August of 2019.
The SA-6 system has a range of 25 km and engagement altitude of up to 8 km with its standard armament, the 9M336 missile, guided by semi-active radar homing. However, the Houthis’ Fatir-1 is supposedly “heat-guided” with a range of 22 km only.
Last month, the Houthis shot down a Saudi Torido IDS warplane over al-Jawf with an anti-aircraft missile, successfully demonstrating their growing air-defense capabilities.
The Yemeni group announced previously that 2020 will be the “year of air-defense” vowing to hinder Saudi-led coalition aerial operations. The group presented several air-defense systems earlier this year.