On Feb. 14, 2020, the Yemeni Houthi rebels announced they had downed a Royal Saudi Air Force Tornado Attack Jet in the northern al-Jawf province, in Yemen.
Later a coalition spokesman confirmed that a Saudi Tornado fighter jet had “fallen” while carrying out a support mission near Yemeni army units, according to Saudi Arabia’s state news agency SPA.
Saudi coalition spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Maliki said the two pilots ejected before their Tornado jet crashed on Saturday in Yemen while under attack by Houthi rebels.
Yemeni Houthi releases footage that shows rebels seem to confirm the aircraft was indeed downed by a SAM (Surface to Air Missile).
Here is the Video:
— Conflict News (@Conflicts) February 15, 2020
The first part of the clip shows an IR (Infra Red) image of a Tornado IDS, coming from the right to the left of the viewing point, most probably in a right hand turn.
Then, the footage shows the SAM targeting system tracking an aircraft (most probably the same one even though this is something that can’t be confirmed from distance) with some bright objects, glowing from their heat signature in the infra-red video, separated from the aircraft.
These seem to be flares, countermeasures ejected against heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles. Shortly thereafter a missile can be seen flying towards the plane and hitting it. The rest of the clip shows the burning remains of the jet falling towards the ground (along with a couple of small bright objects separating from the aircraft – maybe the pilot and navigator’s ejections) and then crashing in a fireball.
According to Al Jazeera, initial reports said the plane was downed with an advanced air-to-ground missile.
The missile that downed the fighter jet is a part of a new defense system made locally and that was its first test, Al-Masirah TV reported.
The Houthis said that in retaliation coalition warplanes launched several strikes on the area where the plane went down, and the United Nations reported 31 civilians were killed.