Among many war-torn areas, Yemen remains under constant fire. The U.S was the first country to launch a drone aided strike against the terrorist organization, Al-Qaida, in 2002. Since then, over the past 15 years, drones have become a common tool in the civil war.
The attack by Yemen’s Shiite Houthi rebels that killed at least six people was carried out using a drone. Both the rebels and the Southi-led coalition fighting them, along with the U.S continue to use drones for surveillance and attacks. The U.S. uses American-made drones and the coalition has turned to Chinese suppliers. However, the manufacturer of the Houthis’ drones in both the air and the sea has been a contentious question.
A 2018 UN panel of experts examined the Houthi’s Qasef-1-drone.
“Although Houthi-aligned media announced that the Sanaa-based Ministry of Defense manufactured the [drone], in reality, they are assembled from components supplied by an outside source and shipped into Yemen” the report said.
“The Qasef, or Striker, is virtually identical in design, dimensions, and capability to that of the Ababil-T, manufactured by the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries.” the report added.
The Ababil-T can deliver a maximum payload of 45 kilograms (100 pounds) up to a 150 Km (95 miles) range. The Houthi drones are said to closely resemble the Iranian drone designs.
The Drone Boat
Apart from using aerial drones for attacks, the coalition had also discovered a Houthi ‘drone boat’ packed with explosives. The explosives failed to detonate. Thus, the convoy was rendered harmless and discovered later on.
The officials recovered greyscale images and associated data from the drone boat which showed Iranians building components for its guidance system in eastern Tehran. The images showed the workers with a hat in the background of one picture bearing the symbol of Iran’s hard-line paramilitary Revolutionary Guard. However, Iran has repeatedly denied supplying the Houthis with drones or ballistic missile technology.