In the hands of the rebels was a lot of heavy weapons: Tanks, rocket and barrel artillery, combat aviation, tactical and operational-tactical missile systems. The authorities of Saudi Arabia, not wanting to get a Shiite state with ballistic missiles at their side, began a military operation in Yemen. To give legitimacy to the invasion of a neighboring country, the Saudis put together an “Arab coalition”. In addition to Saudi Arabia, the coalition included: Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Sudan and Morocco. The United States provided coalition information and technical support. Although the United States has denied direct involvement in the conflict, it is known that a dozen AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were deployed in Lahj province in southern Yemen to support special operations. Also in Yemen, the presence of the American PMC Academi (formerly Blackwater) was recorded.
The invasion of Yemen by the coalition forces of the Arab states began on 26 in February of 2015. The basis of the forces that opposed the Hussites were the units of the army of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the formation of supporters of the runaway ex-president Hadi. In the course of the armed conflict in Yemen, there were observed: Tanks M1a2 -E and TOW. During the battles, a pronounced “separation of roles” was observed. Foreign troops mainly supported armored vehicles, artillery and aircraft. In the fierce protracted hostilities in the cities, the infantry of the Yemeni People’s Committees was mainly involved, so the main casualties fell on Yemenis. However, in the media leaked information about the losses of tanks "Abrams" and "Leclerc", which is in service with the armies of the Saudi kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
Satellite image of Google Earth: tanks of the "Arab coalition" in the vicinity of the airfield in Aden
Most of the losses of armored vehicles "Arab coalition" occurred during the fighting in the cities and in the highlands from ATGW fire, grenade launchers, recoilless guns and explosions on mines and land mines. Frontal armor of modern tanks of French and American production is highly protected from anti-tank weapons, but the relatively thin airborne is vulnerable even to grenade launchers that appeared more than 40 years ago.
Satellite image of Google Earth: F-15SA fighter aircraft of Saudi Arabian Air Force at King Khalid airbase
The offensive forces of the "Arab coalition" was supported by the actions of military aviation. In the air operation Decisive Storm about a hundred Saudi Air Force aircraft were involved. Ground targets were hit by F-15SA, Tornado IDS and Typhoon. During long-range raids, they were supported by A330 tanker aircraft.
Satellite image of Google Earth: DRLO E-3А aircraft and military transport C-130Н at Saudi military air base Prince Sultan
To ensure the operational transfer of equipment and weapons involved military transport C-130H. Airspace control and coordination of Allied aviation was carried out by E-3A AWACS DRLO aircraft. On the border with Yemen, Saudi air bases were deployed helicopters and drones.
Google Earth Satellite Image: UAVs and Helicopters at Saudi Sharurah Air Base
Google Earth Satellite Image: AH-64 and UH-60 Helicopters at Gizan Air Base
The second largest air force involved in Yemen was the United Arab Emirates: almost three dozen F-16E / F and modernized Mirage 2000-9. The UAE Air Force provided a pair of A330 MRTT air tankers, several CN-235, C-130H and C-17ER transport tankers.
Google Earth satellite image: Mirage 2000 and F-15 at Al Dhafra air base in the UAE
Also involved in the raids on Yemen: X / NUMX F / A-15C fighters Kuwaiti Air Force, 18 Miraghe 10 Qatar Air Force, 2000 F-15S from Bahrain, 16 F-18 various modifications from the Egyptian Air Force, Morocco and Jordan and a-get-and-get. 16M.
Google Earth Satellite Image: Sudanese Su-24M at Wadi Seidna Air Base
In 2013, four Su-24M front-line bomber, bypassing the international embargo on arms sales, were delivered to Sudan from Belarus. These aircraft in the past involved in air strikes on the territory of South Sudan. A remarkable fact is that the Sudanese Air Force does not have its own pilots prepared for flights on the Su-24M.
Before the Saudi intervention in Yemen, there were air forces and air defense forces. According to reference data up to 2015, the Yemeni Air Force had three dozen outdated MiG-21 bis and F-5E fighters, as well as approximately 20 units of MiG-29CMT fighters and Su-22М3 fighter bomber fighters. MiG-21 and Su-22 were purchased on the secondary weapons market. MiG-29 were new, as of 2015 year, the age of most cars did not exceed 10 years. Most of the Yemeni warplanes concentrated on Al-Dailami air bases (in Sana'a), Hodeidah and Al-Anad.
Satellite image of Google Earth: a pair of MiG-29 parked at the Al-Dailami airbase before the intervention
Satellite image of Google Earth: airplanes and helicopters of the Yemeni Air Force at Al-Dailami airbase, 2014 image of the year
After the start of the Hussite insurgency, the Yemeni Air Force combat aircraft were repeatedly attracted to launch air strikes against them. Quite effectively, MiG-29 and Su-22 operated against the al-Qaida cell in Yemen. After the transfer of airbases under the control of the Hussites, the combat capability of the Yemeni Air Force fell sharply. Most pilots and technicians have not expressed a desire to serve those against whom they have recently fought. The main part of the aircraft was mothballed, several combat aircraft managed to keep in flight condition.
Satellite image of Google Earth: destroyed hangars at the Al-Dailami airbase, which previously housed MiG-29 fighters
Satellite image of Google Earth: parking at the Al-Dailami airbase after the bombing of the Arab Coalition
Google Earth Satellite Image: Saudi Aviation Results at Al-Dailami Air Base
Despite the fact that the combat effectiveness of the Yemeni Air Force fighters in 2015 was almost zero, the “Arab Coalition” aircraft subjected Yemeni airbases to fierce bombing. Not only combat, but also passenger and military transport planes that were parked were subjected to destruction. During the air raids, at least two IL-76 and several small passenger planes were destroyed.
Google Earth Satellite Image: Burnt Passenger and Military Transport Aircraft at Sana'a International Airport
Fearing retaliation from the Yemeni Air Force, the Saudis bombed almost all the hangars and large structures on Yemeni airfields, which were under the control of the Hussites.
Google Earth Satellite Image: bombed hangars at Sana International Airport
Satellite image of Google Earth: the consequences of the bombing at the airbase Hodeidah
From 1980 to 1987, the year South and North Yemen, which were then individual states, received the X-NUMX Volga C-18М75 air defense missile system, as well as more 3 anti-aircraft missiles. As of 600, the year in Yemen, 2015 of the C-8 anti-aircraft missile battalions was deployed in positions. Before the beginning of the civil war, there were four S-75М125А Pechora air defense systems in the ranks. In the 1s, 80 low-altitude C-6М125 and 1 B-250PD anti-aircraft systems were delivered to Yemen. Also, the Air Defense Forces had two batteries of the Kvadrat mobile air defense missile systems, several dozen Strela-601 and Strela-1 short-range military air defense systems and about three hundred Strela-10М and Strela-2 MANPADS. In addition, there were about 3 ZSU and towed anti-aircraft guns in the Yemen armed forces. Arsenal flak was quite colorful and variegated: some two dozen 500-mm ZSU M20 Vulcan chassis BTR M163 about 113 ZSU-40-23 «Shilka", approximately 4 40-mm M20 Vulcan on BTR-167 chassis, about a hundred towed 152-mm ZU-23, a total of approximately 23 units of 200-mm C-57 and 60-mm 37-K guns. The reference books also indicate the presence of 61 40-mm anti-aircraft guns KS-85, but even if this is so, then they can hardly be considered effective in modern conditions. At the disposal of the “Hussites” in 12, there were up to 2015 1000 and 12,7-mm anti-aircraft guns.
All of this technology, delivered in 70-80-s, is certainly outdated and was very worn out, but some of it still posed a threat to aircraft. In addition to Soviet-made equipment and weapons, Chinese QW-11 MANPADS or their Iranian counterparts Misagh were spotted in Yemen.
The control of the country's airspace up to 2015 was carried out using P-18, P-37 radars and American AN / GPA-102 stationary radars. Radar posts were deployed near the air bases and air defense systems positions, as well as on the dominant heights. Surveillance radars, as well as the positions of the air defense missile system and the garrisons of the air defense forces, were priority targets for air strikes. A common feature of the Yemeni air defense missile systems and radar generation was low immunity and vulnerability to modern anti-radar missiles.
Satellite image of Google Earth: a stationary radar station in the vicinity of Sana'a to the airstrip
Satellite image of Google Earth: a fixed radar station in the vicinity of Sana'a after an air attack
Google Earth satellite image: C-75 air defense system position in the vicinity of Aden to the air strike
Google Earth satellite image: C-75 air defense system position in the vicinity of Aden after an air strike
Google Earth satellite image: C-75 air defense system position from Hodeidah airbase to air strike
Google Earth satellite image: C-75 air defense system position near Hodeidah air base after an air strike
Satellite image of Google Earth: the consequences of the bombardment of the Kvadrat garrison in 20 km north of Sana'a
The positions of the stationary air defense missile systems, radar stations, communications centers, equipment storage areas and garrisons of air defense units, as well as fighters' hangars, were destroyed first of all. This allowed the aviation of the “Arab Coalition” to act with impunity in the sky of Yemen.
Google Earth satellite image: Ar Ryan garrison before airstrike
Military bases, equipment parks and warehouses were also subjected to rocket-bomb strikes. In this case, not only high-precision aviation weapons were used, but cluster munitions as well. The use of CBU-105 cluster bombs with anti-tank ammunition has been reliably established.
Google Earth satellite image: Ar Ryan garrison after air strike
In response, the Houthis used operational tactical and tactical ballistic missiles at their disposal. According to Global security, at the end of 70's 12 self-propelled launchers of the tactical missile system 9K52 Luna-M and 6 9K72 Elbrus, with a launch range of 70 and 300 km, respectively, were delivered to South Yemen. At the end of 80, North Yemen acquired the 18 much more modern and accurate 9K79 “Tochka-U” SEC with a launch range of 120 km.
Apparently, the Luna-M and P-17E missiles, delivered in 70-s, became unusable by the beginning of the foreign invasion, but their launchers could be used for newer missiles delivered from Iran and the DPRK. There is information that in Yemen there were Hwasong-5 / 6 missiles (North Korean copies of Р-17), Tondar-1 (Iranian copy of M-7 Chinese missile, which in turn was created on the basis of C-75 missiles), and also possibly Iranian Shahab-1 / 2 (based on Hwasong-5 / 6). Most likely, the maintenance of these missiles was conducted by foreign experts.
Satellite image of Google Earth: rocket base "Luna-M" before the air strike
Google Earth satellite image: Luna-M rocket base after an air strike
Despite the efforts made by the aviation of the Arab Coalition, it was not possible to destroy all tactical and operational-tactical missiles in Yemen. Intelligence information provided by the United States was not always reliable and relevant to the current situation. Most of the bombs were dropped on empty hangars or on the storage sites of exhausted missiles.
Google Earth Satellite Image: OTRK near the technical hangar in the suburbs of Sana'a
Google Earth satellite image: what remains of the same hangar after the bombing
In the 2015-2016, several successful launches of tactical and operational tactical missiles in positions, camps and advanced air bases of coalition forces were noted. In this case, the occupiers had significant losses in manpower and equipment. So, 31 January 2016, the Hussites reported a successful missile attack on the Al-Anad air base in the Lahj province, seized by the coalition forces. The result was destroyed and injured about 200 soldiers from Sudan and several foreign instructors.
Satellite image of Google Earth: position of the Qatari Patriot air defense missile system
In this regard, the command of the "Arab coalition" was forced to deploy in the conflict zone to protect the large bases and garrisons of the Patriot PAC-2 air defense system. In 2016, the launch of ballistic missiles from targets in southern Saudi Arabia was reported from southern Yemen. But according to official Saudi data, all the missiles were intercepted or fell in a deserted area.
Satellite image of Google Earth: hangars in the suburbs of Sana'a before the bombing
Satellite image of Google Earth: what remains of the same hangars after the bombing
In response, Saudi warplanes began the total destruction of all large industrial buildings and warehouses that could be used to store and service missile systems. In this case, the bombs were dropped not always accurately, and often they fell on residential areas. According to the UN, more than 2000 civilians died from the bombing.
Google Earth Satellite Image: Sanaa's Bombed Missile Base
Although military luck initially was on the side of the rebels, and they managed to take control of a significant part of the country, the overwhelming technical superiority of the troops of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and their complete air supremacy could not but affect the course of hostilities.
Satellite image of Google Earth: port facilities in Aden, damaged during the fighting
In August, 2015 of the formation, loyal to the ex-president Hadi, with the support of armored vehicles and aviation of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, after fierce street fighting, beat out the Hussites from Aden and a number of cities in the south of the country. Under the complete control of the coalition were the provinces of Aden, Ad-Dali, Abyan and Lahij. The capture of Aden allowed to establish a stable supply of coalition troops through the seaport and cut off Hussites from foreign suppliers weapons.
Satellite image of Google Earth: terminal at Aden International Airport, injured during the fighting
Currently in Yemen, a stalemate. The opposing Yemeni parties do not have enough strength to achieve an unconditional victory, and the interventionists, not having achieved quick success, no longer wish to bear the costs and losses. Saudi Arabia, the organizer of the “Arab coalition” and the initiator of intervention in the internal conflict in Yemen, has recently turned out to be essentially stuck in a war, the way out of which is still visible.
Satellite image of Google Earth: military transport C-130 and helicopters of a foreign military contingent at Aden International Airport
In June last year, UAE troops were withdrawn from Yemen’s territory, and a year later, the Saudis accused Qatar of “supporting terrorism” and canceled its participation in the military operation. The situation for the troops of Saudi Arabia is aggravated by the fact that partisan formations of local tribes, which are extremely hostile to foreign invaders, act on the extended supply lines. This in turn forces the formation of well-guarded convoys and divert forces from the main front line.