Military Capabilities

Yemeni rebels display UAVs

02 March 2017
The Qasef 1 UAV seen during the 26 February ceremony that was attended by senior rebel officials, including Saleh al-Sammad (seen with the janbiya dagger), the president of the Supreme Political Council. Source: Al-Masirah TV

Yemen's rebels appear to have provided more evidence that they are getting military support from Iran after they displayed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that looked similar to the Iranian Ababil 2.

Called the Qasef 1, the UAV was unveiled on 26 February along with three other smaller unmanned aircraft.

The Qasef 1 has the same configuration as the Ababil 2, with a pusher propeller, high-mounted canards at the front, and larger wings at the rear, each fitted with a vertical stabilisation fin with a rudder. Versions of the Ababil 2 with a single tail fin have also been seen.

The Qasef 1 is presumably launched using a catapult and recovered with a parachute like the Ababil 2.

According to a poster displayed next to the Qasef 1, it has a wingspan of 250 cm, a length of 300 cm, an endurance of 120 minutes, and a range of 150 km. Iran's defence export catalogue does not provide dimensions for the Ababil 2 but says it has an operational radius of 100 km and an endurance of 75-120 minutes.

Although the poster stated that the Qasef-1 is used to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance missions, it also indicated that it could be used as a loitering munition when revealing it can carry a payload or warhead weighing up to 30 kg. A loitering munition variant of the Ababil 2 has been identified as the Ababil T.

The three other UAVs displayed by the rebels were the Rased, which appeared to be Skywalker hobby drone; the Hudhud 1, which was similar but not identical to the AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma, a type used by the US military; and the Raqeep, which may have been an AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven that crashed in Yemen and was reassembled for the event.

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