The Saudi-led coalition has acknowledged that a Tornado IDS combat aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) was lost over Yemen.
In an statement released on February 15, a spokesman for the coalition said that the combat aircraft went down while conducting operations over the northern Yemeni province of al-Jawf.
“At 23:45, on the evening of Friday, February 14, 2020 AD, a Tornado combat aircraft of the RSAF crashed while on a mission of close air support to units of the Yemeni National Army,” the spokesman, Col. Turki al-Malki, said in the statement.
Col. al-Malki didn’t specify how the aircraft was lost. A day earlier, the Houthis claimed that their Air Defense Force shot down the aircraft with an “advanced” missile “equipped with new technology.”
The fate of the Tornado’s crew remains unclear. Saudi sources said that the pilot and the navigator/weapons officer were still missing, while Yemeni sources claimed that they were captured by the Houthis.
Warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition targeted the Tornado’s crash site with several airstrikes, killing 30 people. The pro-Houthis al-Masirah TV said that women and children were among the casualties.
In January of 2018, the Saudi-led coalition lost a Tornado IDS over Yemen. Back then, the Houthis said that the aircraft was shot down. However, the coalition claimed that the aircraft crashed as a result of a “technical failure.”