US Commander Reveals Plans To Target Houthi Launchers Before Strikes On UAE

The US military commander in the Middle East Lt Gen. Kenneth McKenzie on Tuesday revealed a plan as part of a range of measures considered to protect the UAE from Yemen-based Houthi drones and missile attacks.

McKenzie said the plan is to target Houthi launchers on the ground before they are fired towards the UAE. Speaking from Abu Dhabi, UAE’s capital city, McKenzie said a squadron of F-22 Raptor fighter jets will arrive in the Gulf state in the next week.

“We’re going to bring in a squadron of F-22 fighter jets, the best air superiority fighters in the world,” McKenzie told UAE state news agency Wam.

“The UAE’s air defense system has been very effective to thwart recent missile attacks on the country, but still, the US will work with the UAE to further improve the system,” McKenzie added.

McKenzie also said that the UAE’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (Thaad) had successfully intercepted two attempted strikes, and that the US is working to strengthen Emirati defenses further.

“I know that it sends a strong message of reassurance to everyone in the UAE. We will continue to work with the UAE to make that system even better in the future,” he said.

Last week, the Pentagon said it would send fighter jets and a guided missile warship after Houthi rebels carried several missiles and drone attacks on the UAE. On January 17, three people were killed and six more were wounded by Houthis missiles, prompting UAE to intensify attacking Houthi’s position in Yemen.

“We are working with our partners here in the region and with the industry back in the US to develop solutions that would work against drones. We would like to work against drones which we call ‘Left of Launch’, [which means] before they can be launched,” McKenzie said.

According to McKenzie, such a system will be able to detect the launch of drones, see them and disrupt their flight.

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