Houthis Say They Downed 4th US MQ-9 Reaper Drone

The drones cost about $30 million each

The Houthis said Friday that Yemeni forces downed another US MQ-9 Reaper drone over Yemen and published footage of air defenses hitting the US aircraft.

The US military hasn’t confirmed that it lost an MQ-9 over Yemen and did not respond to a request to comment about the Houthi claim when asked by AP. But video emerged of what appears to be the wreckage of a US MQ-9 in Yemen, and the Houthis have successfully targeted the drones before.

The incident would mark the fourth time the Houthis shot down a US MQ-9 since November 2023. Each MQ-9 is estimated to be worth about $30 million, bringing the total costs for the US military in lost MQ-9 drones to about $120 million.

The US has also spent over $1 billion in munitions used to bomb Yemen and other operations in the Middle East that started due to Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza.

The US bombing campaign against the Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah, has done nothing to deter the group. US Central Command said that a Houthi missile hit a Greek-owned tanker early Saturday morning, although the Yemeni group hasn’t taken credit for the attack.

The US was bombing Yemen on a near-daily basis from January 12 until about mid-March, when US and British strikes on the country declined. According to the Yemen Data Project, April marked the least intense month of bombings since they started in January.

US and British strikes per day in Yemen (Yemen Data Project)

The Houthis have been clear that they would only stop attacks on Israel-linked shipping if there were a ceasefire in Gaza. Tim Lenderking, President Biden’s Yemen envoy, has acknowledged that he thinks the Houthis would be true to their word, but the US refuses to pressure Israel to agree to end its onslaught in Gaza.

From 2015-2022, the US backed a brutal Saudi/UAE war against the Houthis that involved heavy airstrikes and a blockade, and the Houthis only became more of a capable fighting force during that time.

The war killed at least 377,000 people, with more than half dying of starvation and disease caused by the siege. A ceasefire between the Houthis and Saudis has held relatively well since April 2022, but new US sanctions are now blocking the implementation of a lasting peace deal.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.