Yemen’s Houthis highlight new underground missile launchers

Screenshot from the video which shows a launcher for the Houthi’s Badr-1 ballistic missile emerging from the ground. 

In a new video highlighting a recent ballistic missile launch directed at an airport in southern Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s Houthi rebels also unveiled to the world its underground missile launchers.

The video showcased a Badr-1 ballistic missile reportedly fired at an airport in Khamis Mushayt from an underground launcher. Saba, a website linked to the Houthis, reported that the underground launchers “cannot be targeted by Saudi-led coalition’s warplanes.” Additionally, the video was released just after the militant group announced on its main website that its ballistic missile program “will see more robust and efficient development in the coming period.

The Houthis have launched dozens of ballistic missile into Saudi Arabia since 2015. Most have been fired at the southern Saudi provinces of Najran, Jizan, and ‘Asir. However, several have also been fired at the capital Riyadh, as well as Yanbu and Mecca. Just last week, Saudi officials claimed their air defense forces shot down two Houthi missiles over Riyadh.

Iran has been implicated in providing the Houthis with rockets and better technology to improve its missile capabilities. Iran, and it’s proxy Lebanese Hezbollah, have long supported the Houthi movement with weapons, training, and money.

Last December, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley provided more evidence of Iran’s involvement in the Houthi’s ballistic missile program in a widely-covered press conference. And earlier this year, the US Treasury Department sanctioned five members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps missile command over their role in the Houthi’s missile program.

The new underground missile launchers represent new improvements and new technology in the Houthi’s ballistic missile program, which makes it more difficult for Saudi Arabia or coalition forces to detect and destroy Houthi missiles.

The underground launcher prior to firing and then retracting back to into the ground:

Caleb Weiss is a contributor to FDD's Long War Journal.

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