Reports: MQ-9 Drone Shot Down over Yemen

An MQ-9 Reaper armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)
An MQ-9 Reaper armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)

Officials with U.S. Central Command say they're looking into reports that an MQ-9 Reaper, a multi-million dollar hunter-killer drone flown by the U.S. Air Force and other nation's militaries, has been shot down in Yemen.

A spokesman for Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebel movement said Tuesday that the group's air defenses had brought down the drone, which they claimed belonged to the U.S. military. Reuters reported Wednesday morning that unnamed U.S. defense officials had confirmed a U.S. MQ-9 was shot down.

"We're aware of reports and we're looking into it," Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a CENTCOM spokesman, told Military.com.

Some reports said the drone was U.S.-made, but belonged to Saudi Arabia.

It wouldn't be the first time a U.S. MQ-9 was downed over Yemen.

On June 6, CENTCOM confirmed a Reaper had been shot down by Houthis, with Iranian assistance.

In October 2017, an Air Force Reaper was shot down, with Houthi forces claiming responsibility. Like Tuesday's reported incident, that shootdown took place near the Houthi-controlled capital of Sanaa.

This story is developing and will be updated.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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