The Houthi weapons arsenal

By Yehoshua Kalisky (INSS, The Institute for National Security Studies)

In the ongoing Swords of Iron war between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist organization from Yemen of the Houthi rebels contributes to the fight against Israel.


This organization, which is an Iranian proxy, has waged an Iranian-funded war against a Saudi-led coalition for eight years. Alongside the ideology of hatred toward the United States and the Jews, the Houthis are equipped with leading terrorism weapons: medium and long-range ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, sea-to-sea missiles, attack and suicide UAVs, and a fleet of drones. The Houthis even have proven capabilities and operational skills of unmanned vehicles to carry out deadly attacks, as demonstrated by the attacks on the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia (2019, 2021) and in Abu Dhabi (2022). This arsenal makes it possible to carry out long-range attacks against strategic sites in the south of Israel by using ballistic missiles and UAVs, under conditions seen by the Houthis as an opportunity to realize their commitment to Iran or the Palestinian cause and as part of the multi-faceted struggle of the Shiite axis against Israel.


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The Houthis’ ballistic missiles are Iranian missiles with a range of 1600-2000 km. This is the advanced Iranian Shehab-3 missile which reaches a range of 2,000 km, or other versions of the Shehab such as the Burkan-3 missile with a range of approximately 1200 km. The Sumar cruise missiles in their various forms have a range of 2,000 km and the ability to carry a 500 kg payload. Another cruise missile with a shorter range is  Quds-2,  and it is known that efforts are underway to upgrade its operating range and carrying capacity. The Samad 4 attack UAV with a range of 2000-2500 km and a payload of 45 kg of explosives completes the aerial arsenal of the Houthis. The maritime threat of the Houthis is a proven one and stems mainly from the C-801 and C-802 naval missiles and skilled commando forces.


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