Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Incident in Saudi Arabia Sparks Tweets About Unconfirmed Possible Coup Attempt.

Video Emerging with Significant Gunfire Being Heard Near Palace; King Transferred to Airbase; Toy Drone shot down.

Twitter and news outlets came alive with spotty, unconfirmed news reports of an incident in Saudi Arabia that some sources were describing as a possible “coup attempt”. There has been no official verification of significant or organized action in the region and no reports have surfaced as of 00:30 Riyadh time on the BBC World News, but the volume of Twitter reports and private messages received by this reporter seem to indicate an incident of some significance.

Saudi Arabia has been so far successful in avoiding inclusion in the “Arab Spring” revolts that have toppled governments across the Middle East and began in Tunisia in 2010. Since then Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Syria and Bahrain have been subject to either government coups or coup attempts. The attempts at overthrowing the Syrian government have resulted in one of the bloodiest conflicts in the history of the region now in its seventh year.

The Daily Mail is one of the media outlets reporting the “heavy gungire near royal palace”.

As the minutes have passed during the last hour the volume of traffic about Saudi Arabia on Twitter has increased, but the region’s top Twitter reporter, @SamiAlJaber, has reported nothing specific about a “coup attempt”.

“An official Riyadh district police spokesman said that at about 19:50 p.m. on Saturday, 5/8/1439 a security screening point in the Al-Khuzama district of Riyadh noticed a small, remote-controlled recreational aircraft (drone) flying without being authorized to do so, which required security personnel at the security point to deal with it in accordance with their orders and instructions in this regard,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported according to Newsweek.

The following traffic was monitored in the aftermath of the reported gunfire. It might be completely unrelated to the alleged attempted coup, still it’s worth of note, considered that according to flight tracking authority @CivMilAir the GL4 has always shadowed the Crown Prince’s UK, USA, France tours.

For instance, the same aircraft, registration HZ-MS4B was part of the fleet that supported the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman during his U.S. tour. Here’s a tweet dating back to a couple of weeks ago:

Concern about unrest in the country have been top of mind in the region for several years but the existing government has, to date, been mostly successful in moderating large, overt attempt at leadership change.

This story will be updated as information becomes available.

Top image credit: Google

Videos Show Malfunctioning Saudi Patriot Missile Fired To Intercept Houthi SRBM Hitting Capital City Riyadh Instead

It looks like two Saudi Patriots failed tonight…

Saudi Patriot PAC-2 SAM battery in Riyadh fired MIM-104C Surface to Air Missiles at a Burkan 2-H SRBM (Short Range Ballistic Missile) in the night between Mar 25 and 26, 2018.

The SRBM was reportedly intercepted by one of the SAMs (at least 7 according to journalist Babak Taghvaee were launched) but at least two of them failed: one hit a resindential area (at the time of writing the number of casualties/fatalities is unknown), whereas another one exploded mid-air shortly after launch.

Videos of the two malfunctioning MIM-104Cs are emerging on Twitter.

Here’s the first one:

From another angle:

Here’s the second one:

H/T @M3t4_tr0n and @jetcitystar for the heads up

Ballistic Missile Strike Intercepted by Saudis over Capital City Riyadh

Ballistic Missile Fired by Houthi Rebels Showers Arab Capital with Debris.

Houthi rebels inside Yemen have claimed responsibility for a short range ballistic missile attack against the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Nov. 4. An announcement made on social media from Houthi rebels inside Yemen claimed that King Khalid International Airport was the intended target for the missile strike on Saturday night.

The Houthi ballistic missile, a Burkan H-2 according to media sources across the Middle East, is a mobile short-range ballistic missile armed with a conventional 500-kilogram warhead. In some variants, the missile can carry a nuclear warhead. The missile is roughly similar to the Scud missiles used by Iraq during the Gulf wars.

The Burkan H-2 Short Range Ballistic Missile type that was fired by Houthi rebels against the Saudi capital. (Photo: Al Arabiya)

The Burkan H-2 was intercepted by a Saudi anti-missile defense system, likely a U.S. supplied Raytheon MIM-104 Patriot anti-missile system. The Saudis also employ the Raytheon Improved Hawk air defense system, primarily for defense against aircraft. The Saudis have new THAAD (Terminal High-Altitude Air Defense) anti-missile systems on order from the U.S. but have not yet received the more advanced system.

The following video allegedly shows the anti-missile defense system at work during the attack.

According to information published on Al Arabiya, an official spokesman for the coalition forces in support of legitimacy inside Yemen, the anti-Houthi government of Yemen, Colonel Turki al-Maliki said that, “At 8:07 pm local time a rocket was fired from within the territory of Yemen towards the territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

In the official Yemeni government media statement made Saturday Colonel al-Maliki went on to say, “The rocket was aimed at the capital of Riyadh and was launched indiscriminately and absurdly to target the civilian and populated areas, where it was intercepted and the fragments fell in an uninhabited area east of King Khalid International Airport.”

A photo widely circulated in Middle Eastern media claims to show debris from the Houthi ballistic missile after it was shot down by Saudi defenses over the capital Riyadh. (Photo: Al Arabiya)

The official Yemeni government has been at war with the Houthi rebellion inside Yemen since June 2004. The Houthi ballistic missile attack against Saudi Arabia from inside a rebel controlled area of Yemen is in retaliation for Saudi support of the Yemeni government. The Saudi support of the Yemeni government began in 2015.

On October 27, 2017, the Houthi’s claimed to have shot down a Royal Saudi Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon multirole aircraft over the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a. It was the second time the Saudis lost a Typhoon over Yemen during Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi-led air campaign against the Houthis inside Yemen.

Arab news outlets report a similar missile strike was launched from Houthi controlled territory toward Saudi Arabia on October 30. The missile fell far short of its intended target in Saudi Arabia, landing inside Yemen after a possible malfunction.

Al Masirah, a TV network run by the Houthi rebels, also claimed responsibility for the attack on their social media account.

Al Masirah, the Houthi rebel television network, claimed responsibility for the missile attack on Saudi Arabia from their own Twitter account. (Photo: Al Jazeera)

Top image: combo from Social Media posts (via Arab News)

Saudi Arabia is deploying combat planes to Turkey to fight ISIS

Royal Saudi Air Force aircraft will launch air strikes against Daesh from Turkey.

RSAF aircraft are being deployed to Incirlik airbase, Turkey, from where they will launch air strikes against ISIS, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğluy said on Feb. 13.

Saudi Arabia has been part of the US-led coalition fighting Daesh since 2014; by moving its combat planes closer to the area of operations it will be able to increase the ops tempo.

F-15RSAF

Image credit: Antonio Muñiz Zaragüeta

It’s not clear how many RSAF aircraft will be deployed, what type of aircraft the Saudi will deploy nor when these will arrive. So far, Saudi officials have performed a site survey, the Turkish foreign minister siad.

Saudi Arabia is not the only country moving its aircraft to Turkey: according to some media reports, Qatar and UAE (both already belonging to the anti-ISIS coalition and launching their sorties from Jordan) will station their warplanes in Turkish airbases, including Diyarbakir, in the southeastern region of the country.

RSAF-Typhoon-top

Image credit: Alessandro Fucito

French President flies on (made in Italy) VVIP chopper in Saudi Arabia

Last week, we published an article about Marine One helicopter, used by the President of the United States.

As mentioned in the post, one of the things that make Obama’s choppers unique is the fact that they are flown wherever the President needs them, using U.S. Air Force airlifters.

VIP Helicopters, aircraft as well as Presidential cars are often used by some of the world leaders to promote the products of their respective national industry; for instance, for their trips overseas, French Presidents have always counted on a fleet of Airbus planes.

But, as a reader (with much irony) noticed, after being photographed aboard French choppers during a trip in French Guyana, President Hollande somehow failed to obey to the rule of the national product on a recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, on arrival in Riyadh, Hollande was met by Crown Prince Salman and took a helicopter to reach the king’s Rawdat Khurayim farm, located 60 kilometers (37 miles) northeast of the capital.

But the helicopter was not a French Cougar or Panther, but an AgustaWestland AW.101.

Irony aside, the video is interesting as it shows one of the two AW.101 VVIP (Very Very Important Person) helicopters used by the government of Saudi Arabia.

 

India also ordered 12 AW101 VVIP but the procurement has been formally terminated on Jan. 1, 2014 after three helicopters were delivered, due to the bribery claims currently being investigated.

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