On December 10, the military media of the Houthis (Ansar Allah) shared footage showing the group’s air defenses engaging a F-15 fighter jet of the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) over the central Yemeni province of Ma’rib a day earlier.
The Houthis air defenses opened fire at the fighter jet while it was conducting “hostile acts” over the district of al-Jubah.
The fighter jet was targeted with a “Fatir-1” air-defense system, a locally-upgraded variant of the Soviet-made SA-6 “Gainful” system which was first unveiled by the Houthis in August of 2019.
The footage released by the Houthis shows the Fatir-1 missile exploding right beneath the F-15, which was releasing flares and chaffs. The fighter jet was likely damaged as a result of the missile’s explosion.
The remains of the Houthi Fatir-1 missile were later found by Saudi-backed forces, who claimed that it was a “ballistic missile”.
The SA-6 system has a range of 25 kilometers and engagement altitude of up to 8 km with its standard armament, the 9M336 missile, guided by semi-active radar homing. However, the Houthis’ Fatir-1 is supposedly “heat-guided” with a range of 22 km only.
The Houthis attempt to shot down the RSAF F-15 fighter jet will likely force the Saudi-led coalition to slow down its aerial operations in Yemen, especially over Ma’rib. This will help the group’s ongoing attack on Ma’rib city.