Slaying the Goliath in Yemen

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June 19, 2020
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June 22, 2020

Slaying the Goliath in Yemen


D uring the years of war on Yemen, there have been several attacks to Saudi-led coalition and even US aircrafts, including shooting down several drones and an unsuccessful attack on a UAE F-16 block 60 and severe damage to a Saudi Eagle aircraft. But over the past two months, the number and intensity of these defensive attacks have grown dramatically. The Saudi coalition have lost at least five CH4-B drones purchased from China, three Wing Long drones, six SHIEBEL COMCOPTER S100s, four Seeker400s, one Selex ES Falco, and one RQ1-E Predator drone, a Turkish-made Karayel UAV and a Luna X2000 drone.US has Also lost some predator and reaper drones

But what recently completed the collection on the trophy wall was two of the list's most iconic hunts, an Apache helicopter and a Tornado fighter jet both belong to Saudi Arabia.

While the pre-war Yemeni air defense inventory was just some old and obsolete systems of Sam 6, 3 and 2, which the main radars of these systems, especially the early-warning radars, were destroyed in the first days of the Arab Coalition strikes, They lost their combat abilities in such a way that the only effective way to use the Sam 2 missiles in stock was to turn them into ground-to-ground versions or use their booster to build short-range rockets. so these hunts made major changes in the defense capacity of the Yemeni Ansarullah community.

The first attempts to increase Ansarullah's defense capabilities, given the special conditions of the war in Yemen and the enemy's complete air superiority, were to launch Russian air-to-air missiles of the Yemeni army arsenals, such as R-27. According to some reports, Yemen had purchased the thermal version of the missile, which unlike the semi-active version, made the intercept radar unnecessary in short-ranges. According to some estimates, the shot was fired at the Saudi Eagle was with the same weapon. However, due to technical and logistical constraints and the limited available range and height, this method was prevented further from more important hunting.

The next step was to upgrade and apply changes to Sam-6's missile system to use electro-optic on short-range as a passive method against enemy aircraft. At least one American drone hunted flying at a higher altitude than a MANPAD has been attributed to the system.

But all of the above had one weak point in common. The fact that it uses relatively large missiles that required significant logistics is a major obstacle, especially when the domination of the sky is in the hands of the enemy and they have complete air surveillance on the battlefield. Especially when Ansarullah's combat is based on Asymmetric battle tactics and ambushes. And of course, due to the inactivity of long-range early-warning radars and the lack of appropriate radar defense systems, Ansarullah can't engage in medium-range defense, and the only possible chance is to use ambushes to hunt down enemy birds in a short-range that requires maximum concealment.


But after Ansarullah air defense intensified over the past two months, a new weapon appeared to be on the rise. It was almost immediately after the hunting of the Saudi Tornado fighter that Western media reported the seizure of a shipment of weapons in open waters, which they claimed were being transported from Iran to Yemen. However, in case of allies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, Iran has formally expressed its full support for their armaments, as well as full support for Each group that opposes a military confrontation with the Israeli regime as its official policy, but at the same time has never accepted the responsibility of equipping and supporting militant groups in Yemen and has always officially denied arms aid to these groups. Iran has declared its donations only in the form of humanitarian food and medical aid which, with the brutal naval siege of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is not possible to send even food and medicine to the Yemeni people.

Now that Mr. Guterres has claimed the source of Yemeni weapons is from Iran to serve the United States just near the lifting of Iran's arms embargo, it is necessary to take a look at the new Yemeni defense missile.

This missile has major similarities and differences with the famous Swedish RBS-70 system. Among other things, it appears to be using electro-optical terminal phase guidance instead of a laser Beam riding, with solid fuel boosters and Air breathing jet engine (micro-turbojets) as well as fixed wings instead of folding wings inside the body. The missile is designed to minimize complexity and meet technical needs in the simplest possible way, hence the fixed wings and fins used in it similar to the approach we have previously seen in the case of the Quds missile. A detachable booster has been added to speed up the initial acceleration, and a relatively inexpensive commercial micro-turbojet engine with a possible thrust range of 400 N or less has been used to maintain speed. But at the same time, to increase the operational efficiency and effectiveness, an electro-optical seeker and a laser proximity sensor have been added to it So that while having the ability to fire and forget, it can have maximum efficiency against the target. Of course, these simplicities have also imposed damages on the design, including the fact that it is estimated that it will not be able to reach supersonic speeds and significant maneuverability. But since the main targets of this system include UAVs and helicopters which have very limited speed and maneuverability, so this simple, small, and relatively inexpensive missile can become a secret enemy for this group of aircraft. As if to date, significant hunting statistics have been recorded, so much so that by some experts, in addition to shooting down the Apache, Hunting the tornado fighter is also attributed to this missile. This seems reasonable because it was announced by the Saudi side that the tornado was carrying out a support mission that requires low speed and altitude.

The way this system works is very agile and simple, which even a pickup truck meets its logistical needs. First, an electro-optical system detects and tracks the target, then the operator directs the missile by (LOS) line of sight to the target range, eventually the missile locks on to the target using its seeker and heads for it. According to the dimensions, the range of this system is estimated to be less than 10 km, and its warhead weight between 5 and 10 kg. Among the features of this design, in addition to high agility, is a passive performance in all stages of detection, tracking, and locking on the target, so radar lock warning systems do not warn the pilot or the UAV operator. Detecting the threat is difficult thus the opportunity to reaction is small In terms of configuration, the most similar missile available is the Serbian ALAS missile, which, of course, has significant differences from the Yemeni missile.

Strategic effects on battlefields:

According to Western sources, groups loyal to Iran in the region, despite significant ground combat capability, have suffered from the impossibility of affecting the skies of battle. These groups are usually equipped with man pads or anti-aircraft guns but the range of these weapons is extremely limited, on the other hand, the lack of access to radars to detect and give early warning has always put these groups in a surprise and defenseless position against airstrikes. With the launch of MALE and HALE class UAVs, which enter the airspace of countries such as Iraq, Syria, etc. without the knowledge and permission of the ruling governments in the region, and with the ability to fly for a long time at medium or higher altitudes, the weakness of these groups towards airstrikes was greatly intensified. And it is clear that due to the partisan nature and limited logistical power of these groups, these groups couldn't use long-range and complex defense systems. For the first time, this weapon can compensate for the weakness of these proxies against the US air force and hostile states and have a significant impact on the battlefields.

But the fact is that this weapon is an inter-class weapon and the result of the genius and initiative of the Yemeni fighters, which has been assembled from commercial parts due to the sanctions and yet has been extremely effective.

Other influential elements that have changed Ansarullah's offensive power, which were not well known before the Yemeni conflict, include the Badr guided rockets and suicide drones.

The Badr rocket is a weapon that has never been seen before the Yemeni conflict, but what sets it apart from other missiles in the hands of militant groups is its high-precision accuracy and its airburst fragmentation warhead performance which made it a formidable and deadly weapon for semi-hard targets and infantry. The weapon's performance with a range of 160 km is that it first dives close to vertical angle to the target, but before reaching the ground at a height of 20 meters, its fragmentation warhead explodes and hits the area with a tornado of fragments in 250 meters’ radius.

It has been used several times against the camps and gathering places of the enemy forces, each time recording a stunning performance and inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy.

Ansarullah's other influential offensive element is suicide drones. Although the design and construction of suicide drones is not a new issue in the military field, firstly, Ansarullah used drones that had not been seen before in the Yemeni war, and secondly, Ansarullah's use of this type of weapon can be considered one of the most extensive and at the same time most successful examples in the world, so much so that even in the attack on Aramco's strategic facilities, successfully used these drones and inflicted heavy losses on Saudi Arabia.

Qasef is Ansarullah's short-range drone, which is frequently used in reconnaissance and suicide missions. Its small size and considerable speed make it a difficult target for detection and destruction by defense systems, but it also carries a lot of explosives, especially against infantry and semi-hard targets. Another well-known drone that is used by Ansarullah in two types of reconnaissance and suicide bombing and is in the medium range class, medium continuity, and has been used repeatedly in attacks deep into Saudi territory is Samaad UAV.

Some experts have dubbed it the Shahed-X. The composite body and the relative effort to reduce RCS and infrared emissions are the flagship features of this UAV, which uses two linear skids located below the fuselage to land.

The latest case to be mentioned is a Delta Wing composite drone used in its most successful attack on Aramco facilities. Not much information is available about this drone, but considering the accuracy and other characteristics of this attack, it seems that this drone uses image processing in the terminal phase. In the end, the effectiveness of these weapons can be assessed in such a way that Ansarullah is now completely far from a militia group, which only carried out partisan warfare in the form of limited attacks and ambushes, and not only can hit the enemy's strategic depth and hunts down the most expensive and advanced enemy aircraft in the sky and challenges the enemy's air superiority but also in the war on the ground, in the shadow of this increase in power, it carries out large-scale operations.

Saudi Arabia entered the Yemeni war with arrogance and brutality with the support of its tens of billions of dollars and began its work by bombarding the infrastructure and vital facilities of the Yemeni people and did not stop committing any crime, even against women and children. In a Granada situation, Saudi Arabia was ready to put its puppet government in power after a few weeks and make Ansarullah's job done for good. The war has now entered its fifth year, and its main goals have not been achieved. There is a serious quarrel between the coalition of occupiers and the amount of damage and casualties that have been inflicted are countless, and now that the blood of Yemeni people is stained from its head to toe, there is no way to move forward or go back for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


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