On November 9, the Houthis (Ansar Allah) announced that their air defenses had shot down yet another US-made Boeing Insitu ScanEagle drone over the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib, where they have been leading a large-scale offensive against Saudi-backed forces for more than eight months now.
Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said that the drone was shot down with a “suitable weapon” while it was conducting “hostile acts” over the district of al-Jubah.
In response to the Houthis’ announcement, the Saudi-led coalition claimed that its warplanes had destroyed an air-defense system of the group in Ma’rib. The coalition didn’t provide any further details.
The Houthis’ media wing released footage showing the wreckage of the downed drone, which was likely a ScanEagle 2, on November 10.
According to Brig. Gen. Sari, this was the fifth ScanEagle drone to be shot down by the Houthis’ air defenses over Ma’rib this year.
- On June 20, the first drone was shot down over Sirwah district;
- On June 21, the second drone was shot down over Sirwah district;
- On August 14, the third drone was shot down over Medghal district;
- On September 27, the fourth drone was shot down over Medghal district.
The ScanEagle 2, which entered service with the US military in 2014, has a top speed of 148 km and an endurance of more than 16 hours. The drone is 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.
It remains unclear who is operating these drones over Ma’rib. According to some reports, Saudi Arabia purchased a number of ScanEagle 2 systems from the US recently. This is yet to be confirmed, however.