VT | 25 May 2015
Two Israeli F16’s, painted as Saudi, burning on the ground in Yemen, pilots “In the Wind”
This week two F16s were shot down over Yemen. When the wreckage was examined, both were found to be of types never supplied to an Arab nation, not Saudi Arabia, not anyone. The only “buyer” in the region for that type of plane is Israel.
With two Israeli planes downed this week, fresh Saudi markings painted on them, and a strong confirmation of a tactical thermonuclear attack on a Yemeni airbase, a neutron bomb attack (NRR No Residual Radiation), the Yemen war is now clearly an Israeli war.
Yemeni air defense forces shot down a Saudi marked fighter jet in the northwestern province of Sana’a in Yemen as it was conducting airstrikes. This is the second F16 shot down this week – clearly the strength of the Yemeni air defences has been grossly underestimated. The Saudi F-16 fighter jet was shot down and subsequently crashed in the Bayt Khayran area of the district of Bani Harith in the northern part of Sana’a.
On May 11, Yemen’s Al-Masirah television reported that Ansarullah fighters brought down a Moroccan marked fighter jet violating the country’s airspace in the Noshour Valley in the northern province of Sa’ada. The aircraft shot down today had reportedly conducted a number of airstrikes against Yemen’s Al-Dailami airbase. Saudi jets have been carrying out military strikes against Yemen since March 26.
According to Yemeni media outlets, on Sunday Saudi fighter jets targeted a factory in the western Yemeni province of Al-Hudaydah, killing three civilians and injuring 19 others. The Saudi fighter jets also targeted residential areas, a military airbase and a police headquarters in the province in separate attacks.
Now we come to the interesting part – analysis of the wreckage shows these planes to be of unknown origin. While they carried Saudi paint jobs, we know that they cannot be Saudi aircraft and in fact are Israeli aircraft flown by Arabic speaking Israeli Air Force pilots, members of a special ‘Kamikaze’ unit that flies specially modified F16, ‘nuke carriers’ tasked for doomsday operations against Iran, Russia or Western Europe.
One of these aircraft was most likely responsible for dropping the neutron bomb on Yemen a few days ago. Yemeni media reports that two of the ‘rockets’ carried by the fighter jet remained unexploded and were found in the wreckage; these are most likely the Sidewinder missiles carried for defence against other aircraft. We do not know what other ordnance the aircraft was carrying.
The pilots of these two downed aircraft have not been found; no doubt extensive searches are being carried out – an Israeli pilot captured alive would be quite a coup for the Yemenis.
The aircraft was shot down by an updated BUK system supplied by Russia – Yemen is well-equipped with modern Russian weaponry including MiG-29s and advanced air-defence systems, a fact that has clearly been overlooked by the Saudis and their Israeli allies; they have grossly underestimated the capabilities of their enemy and as we have seen before, most notably in southern Lebanon against Hezbollah – Israel does not do so well when it’s victims are prepared and capable of fighting back; perhaps they thought they were bombing undefended civilians in Gaza?
Resident VT aviation expert Jeff Smith of Los Alamos National Labs has provided us with an analysis of this situation.
Jeff Smith Reports
Photo analysis of the shot down F-16 in Yemen show that they are the early model; block A/B F-16 ground attack configuration version (it has the small or what is called the short tail) with Royal Saudi Air Force markings being newly painted on the air frame. All of the so-called Arab coalition aircraft are block C/D not A/B.
So this is probably one of the 50 surplus US F-16 A models given to Israel during the Clinton administration or it is a recently surplus ex-NATO aircraft either from Italy or Portugal. The only other option is that they were directly supplied from the US covertly. We need a serial no. or tail number to confirm which production block they came from.
I forgot it was carrying the 300 gal center line long range bolt on conformal drop tank with no air to air refueling capability or ECM equipment. This is why it was shot down. Too slow and no countermeasures. It was also using the older APG-66 radar. Riyadh or UAE to Yemen is only 600 miles.
However Israel to Yemen is 1200 miles. An F-16 with 3 drop tanks, 4x 1000 lb bombs and 2 sidewinder missiles for self defense is do-able from Israel. The very same distance and mission configuration as needed to hit Iran.
From Press TV:
Yemeni army has shot down a Saudi warplane northeast of the northern city of Sa’ada, as Al Saud regime continues its aerial attacks against its southern neighbor unabated.According to Yemen’s al-Masirah television, the Saudi plane was downed in Kataf district of the province.
Earlier in the day, another Saudi F-16 fighter jet was downed in the Bayt Khayran area of the district of Bani Harith in the north of the northwestern province of Sana’a. The fighter jet had reportedly conducted a number of airstrikes against Yemen’s al-Dailami air base.
Saudi jets have been carrying out military strikes against Yemen since March 26. On May 11, Ansarullah fighters brought down a Moroccan fighter jet violating the country’s airspace in the Noshour Valley in the northern province of Sa’ada.
A few hours later, the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen (2015–present) began. The Yemeni Air Force did not completely join the Houthi rebels, as most of the personnel refused to take orders from their former enemy. Also the maintenance of the air-frames was mostly halted since the ousting of the Saleh regime in 2012 and thus, at the beginning of 2015, the situation of the Air Force seemed chaotic with most of the personnel deserted and air-frames lacking maintenance, effectively preventing the Yemeni Air Force to enter in the fight, remaining grounded during the Saudi-led intervention.
During the opening strikes in March 2015, it appeared that the Coalition strikes did not hit the main combat assets of the Yemeni Air Force, with limited attacks on the runways, secondary airport structures and logistics air-frames, even in face of fighter jets parked in the open. During the initial strikes at al-Dailami airbase, pictures of the single CN-235-300M, one Beechcraft Super King Air, one AB-412 and one UH-1H destroyed or damaged on the ground emerged.
It is not clear if the Saudi coalition decided to spare the military aircraft in the opening hours and then this decision changed, or the initial strikes failed to hit the military planes which were subsequently hit by the following strikes. Other sources reported that the initial strikes also targeted a number of Su-22s and F-5 jet fighters.
Indeed, in the following few days, the coalition strikes started targeting the structures and air-frames to a more severe extent. On 15 April 2015, a Saudi debriefing showed the Arab coalition strikers destroying two Su-22 and one F-5 jet fighters while they were sitting on the tarmac.
The F-5 looked covered by a net, while the Su-22s were parked in the open. Another picture showing the wrecks of two Su-22 and one F-5 jets emerged on 30 April 2015. On 4 May 2015, evidence of a Yemeni Il-76TD at Sana’a International Airport engulfed in flames emerged. The fate of the Yemeni MiG-29 fleet remains unknown while the assessment on the actual number of other air-frames destroyed is difficult to establish.