ة / al-Jamhūrīyah al-`Arabīyah al-Yamanīyah / Yemen Arab Republic Air Force
al-Jumhūriyyah al-Yamaniyyah / Republic of Yemen Air Force

           Credit:  Roundels of the world
Roundel Arab Republic  Fin flash Arab Republic          Roundel Republic of Yemen  Fin Flash Republic of Yemen.



   Yemen was divided in two countries: the Arab Republic  (Northern part, backed by Royalist forces) and Peple's     Democratic Republic (Southern part, backed by socialists). These two were amalgamated to the Republic of
  Yemen on 22-05-90. But in-country clashes country led in 1994 to an attempted secession by the Southern part
  which was put down by loyalist troops. Continous fighting between the various opponents continue till today,
  rendering the Air Force non-existant.
                                  Photo: Northrop
                   Northrop F-5E 50609 (formerly foreseen for Egypt), 70772 and (probably)
                   70773 before delivery, old nationality markings.


Until 1978 both Air Forces had limited their purchases to Soviet Union equipment; in a change of policy 12  Northrop F-5E, financed by Saudi Arabia, were ordered; delivery was very fast (1979) in order to quickly boost air defence of North Yemen. Eight Tigers, formerly destined to Egypt, were readely available and delivered. Four ex Saudi Northrop F-5B trainers were also obtained in 1978. and Yemenite personnell was sent to Williams AFB for training. The fighter went to the 115th Squadron stationed at Sahna'a/al Dailami AB.

                      Peace Bell programm
  A
classified agreement was reached with USA to hire ca 80 pilots and ground    
  crews from the Republic of China (Taiwan)   as nobody was in a position to fly
  or maintain the aircrafs; Saudi Arabia paid also for the costs. Nine inspectors
  were 
sent  in March 1979 to assess situation; the contract started in April 1979,
  renovable each year,
foreseen end in 1985. The contingent was under command
  of the Saudi Arabian Assistance Mission. Initial
foreseen staying for personnell
  was one year; which was declared as retirees without support from the govern-   ment. Chinese pilots possibly saw air-combat and kills against South Yemenese aircrafts, it is said piloted by Soviets, during a   flare-up of fightings in 1979. It seems that an lower priced offer from South Korea was rejected.
                                                            The only known Yemeni/Chinese pilot's photo in 1979. 
Saudi support was also expressed by maintening the aircrafts: by July 1986 two of the trainers were seen at Dhahran (Saudi Arabia) on overhaul, while 2 Tigers were there in February 1983, plus one each in April and July 1986.

By 1990 North and South Yemen were united to form a single state: the Republic of Yemen, though both had very different political systems.

An UN embargo on supplies of military items to Yemen was put in place the same year, following support given to Iraq during the first Gulf war. Relations with Saudi Arabia and the Western world  worsened,
 Taiwanese personnell left the country by May 1990.

In 1994 an open war erupted again between the two sides (North and South Yemen), resulting (again) in reunification but there were still
local conflits going on for a long time. It seems one Tiger shot an Democratic Republic F-7II but the Tiger participation to the war is not confirmed.


Northrop F-5E serial 1775 at Sahna'a, of note modified colours/serial display

                                   Photo: unknown
                                          Northrop F-5B on take-off. See new nationality markings.

A request for quotation for F-5 ejection parts was received by American International Logistics on 03-06-97, request repeated 26-09-97, in support of their pending contract to support and maintain 14 Northrop F-5s. Quotation USD 525,586.38 was given on 28-10-97, delivery three months after receipt of funds. This had no follow-up but a dispute was born and transmitted to a US Armed Service Court that dismissed it.


One single-seater crashed on 16-04-01 on take-off from al Dailami AB, Sahna'a, followed on 03-04-05 also from the same basis. Images from Google earth (year 2006) show 6 Northrop F-5 at al Dailami AB.


US security assistance was restarted in 2007 following Yemeni help to combat Al Qaida fighters;
security assistance had totalled USD 326m between 2007 and 2011, mainly used to maintain helicopters and transport aircrafts but also partially to  sustain the remaining (3) Northrop F-5s. At least five were inoperable, their engines being cannibalised for parts.
Important accusations were expressed in 2012 by an officer, claiming that most Tigers were grounded to keep the others operational. Those in the air were badly maintained, suffering mechanical problems, the cartidges that power the ejection seats were expired, counterfait parts were used, USA Foreign Military Financing aid was detourned to privates. The Yemeni government denied all this.

Stored in USA by 2007 were 200 parcels of 
unpaid forward freighting FMF equipment, among which lowgrade explosives for aircraft ejection seats. Since 2012 US military transportation to ship eqipment in order to avoid similar problems.

Next open war started on 25-03-15 against a nine countries coalition (Saudi Arabian led) bombardment of the airport (Air Base) and the city of Sahna'a. Videos show the destruction and damage at Sahn'a of one Northrop fighter each. Possibly there were additional, non operational, aircrafts.