A Royal Saudi Air Force Typhoon has crashed in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan, Yemen, killing the pilot.
A RSAF Typhoon combat aircraft involved in a mission against Houthi fighters over Yemen crashed into a mountain in Al Wade’a district on Sept. 13, 2017.
The pilot, identified as Mahna al-Biz, died in the incident that follows the one of a UAE pilot, who was also reportedly killed in another crash in Yemen last week, said Yemen’s Saba news agency.
According to the first (unconfirmed) reports on social networks, the aircraft suffered a technical failure during a CAS (Close Air Support) mission.
Codenamed Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi air war on Yemen started in 2015 with the goal to counter the Houthi offensive on Aden, the provisional capital town of the internationally recognized (yet domestically contested) Yemeni government.
Warplanes from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain are taking part in the operation.
The RSAF operates a fleet of 72 Typhoons (including the one that crashed yesterday), based at King Fahad Air Base, Taif.
The incident on Sept. 13, is the third deadly incident of the Euro-canard aircraft after the ones that involved two Spanish Typhoons (on Aug. 24, 2010, and Jun. 9, 2014) and the second to kill a Saudi pilot: the 2010 incident saw a Spanish twin-seat Typhoon crash at Spain’s Morón Air Base short after take-off for a training flight. It was being piloted by a Lieutenant Colonel of the Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force, who was killed, and a Spanish Air Force Major, who ejected safely. All the six Eurofighter users grounded or restricted operations with their aircraft as a result of the Spanish accident, because of concerns surrounding the Mk16A ejection seat’s harness. “Under certain conditions, the quick release fitting could be unlocked using the palm of the hands, rather than the thumb and fingers and that this posed a risk of inadvertent release,” Martin-Baker said after the incident that led to a modification to the Typhoon seats that was developed to eliminate the risk.
Image credit: Fahd Rihan