Footage surfaced over the weekend of an AH-64 Apache helicopter being engaged by surface to air missiles over Yemen, breaking apart and falling to the ground. Reportedly both pilots were killed.
Regional news outlets have been calling the Apache a Saudi aircraft; but is just as feasible that it could have belonged to the United Arab Emirates, as both of the allies maintain AH-64s in their military arsenals and are engaged in the fighting over Yemen. The Apache was apparently shot down near the border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, however, adding credence to the assertions that the downed chopper was indeed Saudi.
— Strategic News (@StrategicNews1) December 1, 2019
In this video, you can see the Apache take a hit, from a surface to air missile, in its tail section. The tail is then separated from the aircraft, which causes it to plummet to the ground.
— Seyyah News (@seyyahnews) November 30, 2019
Reports of the downed Apache come the same weekend as Houthi claims of shooting down a Wing Loong UAV, a Chinese-built military drone that was previously known as Chengdu Pterodactyl I. These armed drones are built for long-duration loiter operations. They can clock approximately 20 hours of flight time without refuelling and have an operational range of nearly 2,500 miles per flight. They are capable of carrying up to 12 air-to-surface missiles
Two Chinese sourced Blue Arrow-7 air-to-surface anti-tank missiles seem to be visible in the images and videos, of the largely intact downed drone, which have been uploaded by the rebels in the past few days.
Thus far, the Saudi government has not acknowledged the loss of a helicopter or a drone over the weekend, but unofficial reports indicate that these losses may represent only the most recent in the five-year conflict. Unofficially, counts suggest that at least seven attack helicopters (six Saudi and one UAE AH-64) and four drones have been lost to Houthi rebels in Yemen throughout their combat operations in the theater.
Back in 2017, Houthi rebels also claimed responsibility for the downing of a U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drone flying over the Yemeni capital of Sanaa.
Earlier this year, two SAS operators were wounded in an IED blast in Yemen while working alongside a U.S. Army Special Forces A-Team scouting for potential drop zones within Yemen. The drop zones they were scouting for were reportedly for the delivery of emergency relief supplies for starving civilians in the region. The joint special operations team wore Arab clothing and drove in unmarked pickup trucks during the scouting mission, but their convoy was still targeted by an IED attack as they traveled near the town of Marib.
American special operations troops reportedly continue to operate in Yemen in direct support of the humanitarian effort.