Military Capabilities

Saudi armour moves into northern Yemen

05 July 2018
Two Saudi M113s and an M2 Bradley are seen in a still from Sky News Arabic footage showing the fighting in northern Yemen. Source: Sky News Arabic

A Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) armoured formation appears to have advanced into the northern Yemeni province of Sadah, entering the mountainous stronghold of the Iranian-backed rebel group Ansar Allah (the Houthis) for the first time in more than three years of fighting.

Sky News Arabic broadcast footage on 1 July showed Yemeni Army troops advancing in the province. It included shots of at least one M60A3 tank, multiple M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), and an M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

The RSLF operates all three types, while the Yemeni Army, before it fragmented at the outset of the current conflict in March 2015, had M60A3s and M113s but no Bradleys. The M113s in the footage had received an armour upgrade that has been rolled out widely across the RSLF’s fleet, but has not been seen on Yemeni ones. At least one M113 appeared to have the RSLF’s logo on its side.

Saudi Arabia has equipped Yemeni forces fighting against Ansar Allah, but is not previously known to have supplied tracked armoured vehicles to its local allies.

Twitter users who support the Saudi military circulated additional imagery purportedly showing personnel from the RSLF’s 14th Mechanised Infantry Brigade in the Baqim area. The town of Baqim is situated about 17 km from the Saudi border and surrounded by mountains.

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