As tensions continue in the volatile Middle East region, some defense officials told the media that the Iran-backed Houthi militant group shot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone off the coast of Yemen.
This is the 2nd major US loss, after the Russian downing of another identical drone earlier.
The US defense official told media that the MQ-9 Reaper drone was shot down by the militants while flying over international waters and in international airspace. Yemen is bordered to the south by the Gulf of Aden and to the west by the Red Sea.
His shootout MQ-9 Reaper Drone it has since been identified by a Houthi spokesman, who claimed the drone was flying in Yemeni airspace when it was shot down. The US Central Command is reportedly investigating the incident, which may have been costly a loss of $32 million at United States.
THE Houthi group has yet to share more details on how the drone was shot down, but a video has been released showing the moment the Reaper was shot down by a Houthi-owned air defense system.
The EurAsian Times was unable to independently verify whether the drone was damaged or completely destroyed in the attack.
Specifically, the MQ-9 Reaper firefight considered a valuable asset to the US military, comes at a time when the US has expanded its presence in the Middle East. The US has moved military assets, including aircraft carriers, marines and support ships, to the Middle East and deployed troops on warships in the Red Sea, which separates Israel and Yemen.
The United States says its military expansion in the region is aimed at preventing a region-wide escalation, with Iran and its proxies warning of attacks if Israel does not stop shelling Gaza.
But with regional militant groups accusing the US of supplying the IDF and encouraging the slaughter, attacks against US forces in the Middle East have also seen a dramatic rise. In the past three weeks, there have been more than forty separate strikes on US military installations in Syria and Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
THE downing of the Reaper comes three weeks after the USS Carney, a US Navy warship, successfully intercepted several missile and drone attacks launched by the Houthis during their journey north over the Red Sea. Over the course of nine hours, the ship reportedly shot down four cruise missiles and fifteen drones. At the time, military analysts noted that their trajectory indicated that the missiles were aimed at Israel.
At this time, it remains unclear if the MQ-9 Reaper was armed as the drone can carry a variety of armaments, including missiles and laser-guided bombs.
Bad year for MQ-9 Reaper Drones – Downed by Russia
The MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle is equipped with long range radar and can provide skippers with a complete view of the sea. These aircraft have performed various missions overseas, including close air support, search and rescue, maritime interdiction, strike coordination, reconnaissance and surveillance.
However, when the MQ-9 was on such a surveillance mission over the Black Seafaced two Su-27 Flankers of the Russian Air Force in March this year.
At the time, the US military announced that the Reaper was first attacked by the Su-27/
Later, he noted that a Russian Su-27 fighter jet had broken the propeller of an MQ-9 Reaper drone, causing it to crash into the Black Sea. For its part, Russia initially denied any direct contact between her aircraft and the drone and said that the MQ-9 Reaper drones was flying with transponders off and crashed after a “sharp manoeuvre”.
However, a video was later released by the US military showing the engagement between the Su-27 and the MQ-9 Reaper drone. The entire incident was recorded on the drone’s rotating electro-optical system, which was pointed back in the direction of the thruster, and revealed the Su-27 approaching from behind.
The downing of the drone above the Black Sea had a direct impact on US missions in the region. After the incident, both Russian as well as American officials argued that the downing of the drone ended up reducing US airborne surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the region, as the latter’s aircraft and drones were forced to fly further south and away from its shores Ukrainian.
Although the The US has often used the drone to “surveill”, this particular incident was a huge blow to their army.
The MQ-9 has been under threat for almost a year. After the March episode caused an uproar and sparked the threat of escalation between the two sides, a US official revealed in May that a Russian surface-to-air missile had missed a US MQ-9 Reaper drone in Syria in November 2022.
The drone was damaged as the missile exploded about 40 feet from it, but was able to return to its base and land without incident.
However, despite these commitments with Russia, the MQ-9 Reaper they refused to back down. Earlier this year, Russian forces complained that the UAV was frequently approaching their positions in Syria.
A senior Russian official said the Russian Armed Forces observed ten violations of the flight of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) belonging to the US-led “international counter-terrorist coalition” during the day in Syria.
For its part, the US CENTCOM complained that Russian fighter jets were involved in dangerous interceptions of their MQ-9 Reapers. He pointed out that the Russian aircraft violated established rules and protocols by deploying numerous parachute flares in the path of the drones, necessitating evasive maneuvers by the US aircraft.
Military experts and analysts have repeatedly warned that if the Russian air defense systems shot down one of these drones once again, it could lead to gross miscalculations and escalation between the two sides.