Houthis Unveil New “Hatem-2” Ballistic Missile

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The Houthis have released footage unveiling their new “Hatem-2” ballistic missile, which they say was used to target the Liberian-flagged container vessel MSC Sarah V in the Arabian Sea on June 25.

Despite Houthi claims, the Joint Maritime Information Center (JMIC) reported that the vessel was not hit and carried on with its voyage.

Houthi Statements on the Attack

A day after the attack, Houthi military spokesman Yahya Saree released a statement, claiming that “The Yemeni Armed Forces reveal, for the first time, the identity of the missile that targeted the Israeli ship (MSC Sarah V) in the Arabian Sea. It is a locally made hypersonic missile that possesses advanced technology, is accurate in hitting, and reaches long ranges. Scenes of the launch, along with the rest of the details, will be distributed via the military media later, God willing.”

The Missile

Footage of the missile launch was later released by Yemeni Military Media, along with some information about the system.

According to the Houthis, the Hatem-2:

  • has an “intelligent control system”
  • is maneuverable
  • can reach hypersonic speeds
  • is solid-fueled
  • has “several generations with different ranges”
  • is made in Yemen

The Hatem-2 is almost identical to the Iranian Kheybar Shekan, a solid-fuel medium-range ballistic missile that was first unveiled by the IRGC.

The Kheybar Shekan can reach hypersonic speeds as it leaves the atmosphere and can be armed with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle (MaRV), with a purported range of 1,400 kilometers (900 miles).

Hatem-2 on top, Kheybar Shekan on the bottom.

If the Hatem-2 is domestically produced, it is a locally made variant of the Kheybar Shekan. It is important to note that the Houthis have another Kheybar Shekan variant, which they call the Hatem-1, also unveiled in 2022.

There is no indication, however, that the Hatem-2 utilizes a MaRV, and its claimed maneuverability remains to be seen.

Other Capabilities

This comes just weeks after the Houthis unveiled their “Palestine” ballistic missile, which they claim was used to attack the Israeli port city of Eilat, but was intercepted.

While the Houthis have not claimed that the “Palestine” missile is a hypersonic weapon, there is a possibility that it is a locally produced derivative of the Iranian Fattah-1, considering its similar design and range (1,600 km to Eilat). Likewise, there is no indication at this time that the “Palestine” missile has a second stage, suggesting that it is possibly just a single-stage medium-range ballistic missile.

Back in March, Russian state media outlets RIA Novosti and Sputnik reported that the Houthis successfully tested a hypersonic weapon “that can reach speeds of up to Mach 8 and is powered by solid fuel,” adding that “Yemen plans to begin manufacturing it for use in attacks in the Red and Arabian Seas and the Gulf of Aden, as well as against targets in Israel.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby denied the claims, stating that there was “no indication” that Houthi forces in Yemen had access to hypersonic weapons.