Yemen’s Ansar Allah group (the Houthis) supported its claim to have shot down an F-15 multirole fighter over Sanaa on 8 January when it released infrared (IR) footage showing the engagement.
Apparently filmed by a FLIR Systems electro-optical (EO) turret, the IR footage showed an F-15 cruising before its pilots selected afterburner, two decoy flares were released, and a missile approaching from below and exploded close by.
The aircraft appeared to be intact after the encounter and was seen flying for several more seconds without any visible sign of trouble, suggesting it survived the proximity explosion.
Ansar Allah’s claim to have shot down the F-15 came a few hours after it said it shot down a Tornado.
The group subsequently released a video showing what it said was the wreckage of the Tornado found in the Kitaf area in the northern province of Sadah. It included a part with a NATO Stock Number for a component in a countermeasures system that was made by Selex ES in the United Kingdom, indicating the wreckage was from a Tornado, not an F-15.
The Saudi-led coalition that is fighting Ansar Allah confirmed an aircraft was lost on 8 January, telling the Saudi Press Agency that it crashed due to an unspecified “technical failure” and that both aircrew were rescued. It did not identify the type of aircraft that was lost.
Saudi Arabia is the only coalition member that operates either F-15s or Tornados.
Ansar Allah has claimed to have shot down several aircraft since the beginning of the coalition’s military intervention against it in March 2015, but most such claims have not been corroborated. The exception was an unmanned aerial vehicle that was hit near Sanaa on 1 October 2017.
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