Lessons from Yemen’s Missile War

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At five years and counting, Yemen’s civil war is a remarkable case study in missile warfare, one that offers several critical insights for U.S. defense planners.

Since 2015, Iran-backed Houthi rebels have fired hundreds of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and UAVs at Arab coalition forces and into Saudi Arabia, some reaching as far as Riyadh. Part of the Saudi-Arab coalition’s response has been history’s most extensive use of ballistic missile defenses, with more than 160 reported intercepts.

This duel offers a rare glimpse into the utility and limitations of active missile defenses. It also provides insight into modern air and missile attack, the difficulties of destroying enemy missiles on the ground (“left-of-launch”), and the challenges of missile proliferation. The picture that has emerged is one in which the role of active missile defenses remains great, even when coupled with concerted counterproliferation and left-of-launch action.

Read the full article at Defense One.

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Ian Williams and Shaan Shaikh, "Lessons from Yemen’s Missile War," Missile Threat, Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 11, 2020, last modified April 27, 2021, https://missilethreat.csis.org/lessons-from-yemens-missile-war/.