F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Moroccan F-16 crashes over Yemen

May 11, 2015 (by Lieven Dewitte) - A Moroccan F-16 (#08-8008) taking part in the Saudi Arabian-led coalition fighting in Yemen went missing on Sunday, the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces said in a statement.

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Moroccan F-16 (#08-8008) crashed in Yemen on May 10th, 2015.

The F-16 wreckage was found on Monday near Nushoor, SA'ada. There is no news about the pilot as of yet. Claims by Shia rebels, known as Houthis that they shot the F-16 down and the pilot was killed are unconfirmed.

Backed by the United States, a Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air strikes against the Houthi rebels and army units loyal to ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Morocco announced its backing of Saudi Arabia since the beginning of the action and has had F-16s stationed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"One of the F-16s of the Royal Armed Force (FAR) made at the disposal of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia to restore the legitimacy in Yemen went missing on Sunday at 6 pm local time," FAR's statement carried by the Moroccan state news agency MAP said.

The pilot of a second jet in the same squadron could not see if the pilot had ejected, it said. An investigation is under way, it added.

On Sunday, Arab planes bombed for a second day in a row the vast compound in the capital Sanaa which is home to ex-president Saleh, a key player in Yemen's political crisis whose loyalists in the army fight on the Houthis' side.

Morocco deployed six F-16s to the UAE last year, when the U.S.-led coalition launched air strikes against the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

It was the first mission of the Moroccan Vipers since the country bought 24 of those from the U.S. in 2011.




Additional images:

Moroccan F-16 (#08-8008) crashed in Yemen on May 10th, 2015.

RMAF F-16C block 52's #08-8003, #08-8005, #08-8008 and #08-8010 are flying a four-ship formation during the Marrakech air show in April of 2012. [RMAF photo]