Houthis shot down Turkish-made Saudi “Karayel” combat drone over Yemen

On May 22, the Houthis announced that their air defenses had shot down a Turkish-made Vestel Karayel UAV of the Saudi-led coalition over the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajjah.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Yemeni group, said that the drone was shot down with a “locally-made” ground-to-air missile over the district of Hayran after violating the UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement in Yemen.

“Our armed forces affirm that they are present and ready to respond to any [ceasefire] violation or aggression by the forces of aggression,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The Karayel combat drone was developed by Turkey’s Vestel to carry out reconnaissance and combat missions. The drone has an endurance of up to 20 hours and an operational range of 150 kilometers. The drone can be armed with light MAM-L and MAM-C laser-guided munitions made in Turkey by Roketsan.

The Houthis’ Military Media released on May 23 footage showing the wreckage of the downed drone, which was no apparently armed. So basically the Vestel Karayel drone was on a surveillance, and reconnaissance mission.

The drone is the fourth Turkish Vestel Karayel combat reconnaissance drone to be shot down by Ansar Allah during the Yemeni war.

The Vestel Karayel is a surveillance, reconnaissance, and later combat unmanned aerial vehicle system developed by Vestel. The drone is currently operated by Turkish Armed Forces and the Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia.

Karayel-SU (SU; standing for Armed-Extended Wing) has a longer wingspan, as well as end-plates on its wing tips and two hardpoints for payload under each wing. Each one of the hardpoints can carry 30 kg, meaning that the total payload capacity of the Karayel-SU under its wings is 120 kg. The wing hardpoints can also be equipped with payloads other than munitions. The Karayel-SU also retains the ability to carry 50 kg EO/IR payload at the fuselage payload bay

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