US-supplied Patriot missile batteries with their powerful radars have come under fire for completely missing out on Yemeni army’s drone attacks on Saudi oil installations.
Saudi’s failure to defend its homeland was observed even in 2017 when Yemeni Houtis struck King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh.
During his visit to Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the drone strike on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly admitted that the Patriot appeared to have been less effective than what they should have been. “We want to make sure that infrastructure and resources are put in place such that attacks like this would be less successful than this one appears to have been,” he said.
Royal Saudi Air Defense’s (RSADF’s) “Peace Shield” consists of Raytheon-made Patriot batteries (costing about $1 billion apiece) to shoot down hostile aircraft or shorter-range ballistic missiles. They provide “point defense,” which is not suitable for protecting wide swaths of land. It is unclear why they were not stationed close to the Saudi oil facilities.
US’ array of powerful spy satellites and aircraft deployed to gather and share crucial data with Saudi military also proved to be futile. “We don’t have an unblinking eye over the entire Middle East at all times,” said Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Michael Duitsman, Research Associate at James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, California, predicts that the Patriots stationed at Saudi could have been turned off, or was possibly affected by ground clutter, unlike the radars of S-300s that are mounted on a mobile, 23 metre tall mast. “The attacking drones flew in at low altitude (perhaps no more than 200 meters) from the north or northwest. The Patriot radar's line of sight was obscured by the oil facility, its residential and support buildings, and a village further to the west,” he stated in his Twitter account.
Without the Patriot radar, Abqaiq's defenders were entirely reliant on the Shahine and Skyguard radars, which have a 20 km range against full-sized aircraft. “If we assume that Iran's delta-wing drone is detected at 10 km and flies at an especially lackadaisical 75 m/s (167 mph), the defenders will have slightly more than two minutes between detection and impact, which is insufficient,” Duitsman explained.
The US rejects Yemen’s claim that it orchestrated the attack of this scale on its own and blames Iran for the strike. Interestingly, Iranian-made Khorad-3 missile system reportedly downed an American stealth drone this June.
The Yemeni Armed Forces (YAF) attacks against Saudi Arabian Oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais were launched from three locations using multiple type drones including one that suppressed enemy electronic detection ability. Giving details of the attack it calls as “Second Deterrent Balance Operation,” YAF spokesperson Brigadier General Yahya Saree told journalists in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Wednesday that the drones involved in last weeks attack included third generation domestically-made Qasef (Striker), long-endurance Sammad-3 (Invincible-3) drones with a range of 1,500 - 1,700 kilometers and newly-developed drones equipped with jet engines
The display of a stealth drone powered by a turbo-jet engine by Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) at the MAKS 2019 show in Moscow (August 27-Sept 1) may hold a clue to the Yemeni Houti attack on two Saudi oil refineries last weekend. The Yemeni Houti Army used drones with a new type of engine, “something between a regular and jet engine,” Yemen's Army spokesman, Brigadier General Yahya Saree, said referring to the drone used in attacks on the Abqaiq and Khurais oil refineries
Russia has offered its S-400 air defense systems to Saudi Arabia after Yemeni Houtis managed to attack worlds largest oil facilities located in the country, dodging its protective armour that includes Patriot systems. "In order to protect Saudi Arabia, we are ready to provide the corresponding aid to the country
Cruise Missiles striking with great precision, rather than drone were involved in Saturdays Saudi Oil facility attack, the Pentagon said releasing satellite pictures of the strike. The projectiles attacked storage tanks and processing and compressor trains, the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said
The Iranian military on Thursday received new, indigenously-developed military hardware including bullet-proof tactical vehicles, reconnaissance drone and smart robots. The new pieces of equipment were officially delivered to the relevant military forces during a ceremony held on October 3, Press TV
The intelligence unit of Irans Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced foiling an assassination attempt against Maj. Gen
Rostec to offer Modernization of S.Korean Ka-32s at Seoul ADEX 2019
China’s J-20 Fighter May Have Entered Mass Production with Increased Deployment
USAF Approves Sikorsky HH-60W Gunship To Enter Production
Shareholders Approve United Technologies, Raytheon Merger
Russian S-300s, S-400s Fail to Detect Israeli F-35s Flying Over Syria: Reports...
New GJ-11 Stealth Combat Drone with Flying Wing Design takes part in...
China to Deploy Sharp Sword Stealth Drone on Type-001A Carrier by Year-end...
USAF Develops "Thor" Electromagnetic Weapon to Hammer Enemy Drones
Several joint production and direct procurement programs could be halted if the US and Europe carry through with their threat...
Sanctions-hit Iran has found ingenious ways to develop military hardware
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...
US companies sanctioned by China for supplying weapons to Taiwan may be denied rare earth elements (REEs), which have critical...
While the US F-35 stealth aircraft has become one the fastest selling fighter jets in the world aircraft market, thanks...