Drones used by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen are becoming deadlier and more accurate over long ranges, according to a report released Wednesday.
While the Yemeni group had been using earlier variants of Iran-linked drones in kamikaze-style attacks that sought to smash directly into targets, newer models discharge explosives and shrapnel, such as in an attack on a Yemeni military parade in al-Anad last year that killed six people and wounded several more.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, reports say.
The gyroscopes have only been found inside drones manufactured by Iran, Conflict Armament Research said in a report released on Wednesday. That follows a recently released report from the United Nations saying its experts saw a similar gyroscope from an Iranian drone obtained by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, as well as in weapons shipments seized in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen.
It ties Iran to the arming of the rebel Houthis in Yemen’s long civil war. Iran denies it had a hand in that assault but has increasingly promoted its influence over the Houthis and launched a ballistic missile attack on American troops in Iraq after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad last month.
“The seizure is consistent with a historical pattern of Iranian smuggling of advanced weapons to the Houthis in Yemen,” said US Navy Captain Bill Urban of US Central Command, which is responsible for US forces in the Middle East, during a briefing February 19 at the Pentagon.
The Houthi’s Qasef-1 drone carries the V10 gyroscope, which is “identical” to one found in an Iranian-made Ababil-3 drone, which Islamic State group fighters reportedly recovered in Iraq, Conflict Armament Research said. Weapons experts found the V9 version of the gyroscope in drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, used in the September attack on Abqaiq, home of a crucial oil processing facility for Saudi Arabia, the U.N. report said.
“According to UAV experts familiar with this technology, such vertical gyroscopes have not been observed in any UAVs other than those manufactured by Iran,” Conflict Armament Research said in its report, which was funded by the European Union and the governments of Germany and the United Arab Emirates.
The U.N. report simply said that “the manufacturer of the gyroscope remains unknown.” However, it noted finding similar V10 gyroscopes “among the debris of both Samad and Qasef UAVs, which have been used by the Houthi forces.”
The U.N. also said its experts saw a V9 gyroscope on display in Washington at a military display showing an Iranian Shahed-123 that American officials say they recovered in Afghanistan in October 2016, after it crash-landed.
Source » theportal-center