Houthi Rebels Strike Again: Down $30 Million US Reaper Drone

Houthi forces in Yemen have declared that they successfully targeted and shot down a US MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) over Yemen. This incident signifies the third occurrence of this type of aircraft being brought down in the region since the conclusion of last year.


According to statements from Houthi spokesperson Yahya Saree to Military Cognizance, the Houthi forces have claimed responsibility for the downing of an American MQ-9 Reaper UAV over Saadah province in northwestern Yemen. The incident occurred during what they described as the drone’s engagement in hostile actions near the border with Saudi Arabia.

On the same day, a correspondent from Military Cognizance quoted US military officials confirming that a US Air Force MQ-9 Reaper aircraft crashed in Yemen on April 26. However, the officials confirmed that the UAV crashed off the coast of Yemen, and an investigation is currently underway to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident.

In the past five months, Yemen has witnessed the third loss of a US MQ-9 Reaper, all confirmed to have been shot down by Houthi forces. The first incident occurred in November 2023, followed by the second in February 2024.

Manufactured by US General Atomics corporation for the US Air Force, the MQ-9 Reaper is a prominent line of modern reconnaissance-attack UAVs, in production since 2007. Each unit comes with a hefty price tag of around 30 million USD, according to the US Congressional Research Service.

The US extensively employs the MQ-9 Reaper for intelligence gathering, surveillance, and precision strikes on high-value targets. Its operational history spans missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen.

Equipped with the capacity to carry up to 8 laser-guided missiles or 16 Hellfire missiles, along with nearly 600kg of fuel, the MQ-9 Reaper boasts an impressive range of nearly 2,000km and can maintain flight at altitudes of up to 15,000m for a continuous 24 hours.

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