Yemeni rebels unveil cruise missile, long-range UAVs

08 July 2019

A Sammad-3 long-range UAV with the bulge over its wing box is seen in front of a smaller Sammad-2. Source: Ansar Allah

The Yemeni rebel group Ansar Allah (popularly known as the Houthis) unveiled on 7 July weapons that it has been using to attack Saudi Arabia in recent months, including a ground-launched cruise missile that may have been used to attack Abha International Airport on 12 June.

Saudi military spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki previously identified the cruise missile used in that attack as an Iranian Ya Ali. However, the Quds cruise missile displayed by Ansar Allah looked substantially different from the Ya Ali that was unveiled by Iran in 2014. Most notably its engine was mounted on top of the missile, rather than inside it with an air intake below.

The Quds was also probably shorter, had a smaller solid-propellent booster and differently shaped wings and fins. The fins looked similar to one that was recovered from the missile that hit Abha airport and shown by Col Maliki during his 24 June briefing.

Col Maliki identified the engine on the cruise missile as a TJ100: a type of turbojet made by the PBS Group in the Czech Republic. The Quds cruise missile had an engine that looked similar to the TJ100 but which could be a copy. PBS told Jane's that it has never exported engines to Iran or its allies and would co-operate with any investigation.

Ansar Allah also displayed two sizes of Sammad unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that it has claimed to have used to attack targets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) deep in Saudi Arabia. At least one of the two smaller ones was labelled as the Sammad-1 and both were equipped with electro-optical turrets for surveillance missions.

The two larger ones, at least one of which was labelled as a Sammad-3, did not appear to have surveillance payloads, but had bulges above the area where their wings join their fuselages, possibly to accommodate a larger explosives payload, as well as a fairing in front of their engines.

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