On June 21, the Saudi-led coalition showcased remains of the projectile the Houthis used in the recent attack on Abha International Airport. The remains, which were inspected by U.S. envoy on Iran, Brian Hook, proved that the projectile was a cruise missile.
Saudi newspaper Sabq released photos showing remains of the missile’s fins and fuselage. The characteristics of the fuselage and the fins appear to be similar to that of the Soviet Kh-55 cruise missile.
One of the photos shows the remains of the missile’s engine, which was identified as the TJ-100. The turbojet engine, that’s is produced by Czech’s PBS Velká Bíteš, is not used in any known missile.
While the cruise missile was designed after the Kh-55, it remains unclear if it was indeed developed and manufactured by the Houthis themselves.
In 2017, the Houthis launched what is suspected to be an Iranian Soumar cruise missile, a copy of the Kh-55, at the Barakah nuclear power plant in the UAE. This may explain how the Yemeni group and its backers got familiar with the missile’s design.
The Houthis’ new mysterious cruise missile proved to be effective when it hit the arrival terminal in Abha International Airport on June 12 with high-accuracy. The same type of cruise missiles was likely used in the June 19 attack on the al-Shuqaiq Water Desalination and Power Plant in southwestern Saudi Arabia.