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Saudi-led coalition identifies Iranian cruise missile used against airport

26 June 2019
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The Ya Ali cruise missile (in red on the right) is seen as part of a display of new military equipment put on by the IRGC in May 2014. Source: leader.ir

An Iranian-made Ya Ali cruise missile was used in the 12 June attack on Abha International Airport in southwest Saudi Arabia, Colonel Turki al-Maliki, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition said on 24 June.

The missile hit the airport's arrivals terminal but only inflicted relatively minor injuries and damage. The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah claimed responsibility, saying the attack and another against the Al-Shuqaiq power plant a week later were carried out using cruise missiles.

The Ya Ali was unveiled as part of exhibition that the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) put on for Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in May 2014. The missile was reported to have a range of 700 km.

In his press briefing, Col Maliki showed images of the remnants of the missile that hit Abha airport, including a part that was certified in October 2018, which he said proved that Iran was continuing to supply weapons to Ansar Allah.

He also showed a slide that identified the missile's engine as a TJ-100: an apparent reference to the TJ100 turbojet made by the Czech company PBS Group.

The company announced in May that it had delivered 900 TJ100 engines since 2004, many of which were used in aerial targets. It told Jane's that it could not rule out the possibility that the engine shown by Col Maliki was one that it produced but noted that it could be a TJ100 copy or a different type of engine.

"We have never delivered our engines to Iran or any of its allies, even in the past," PBS business development director Tomas Koutsky said, adding that the company is fully compliant with the Czech export regulations and that this is the first possible case where someone other than an approved end-user has acquired one. "We will co-operate fully to clarify the origin of the used piece," he said.

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