Emirati defense officials have lifted the lid on the country’s support to the Saudi Arabian-led coalition operation in Yemen.

Major General Ibrahim Naser Al Alawi, the commander of the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF), told delegates at the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference on Nov. 7 that UAEAF aircraft had now flown some 40,000 flight hours in support of the ongoing operation in Yemen, with operating from six locations in Saudi Arabia and inside Yemen.

“None of this would have been possible without a professional fighting force,” Al-Alawi told air chiefs.

Officials were unwilling to answer further questions on the ongoing operation which began in March with airstrikes on the Houthi rebels who had deposed president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.

The details emerged as the first UAE armed forces personnel returned home after completing their duties as part of Operation Restoring Hope. Saudi officials recently stated that around 75% of Yemen is back in the control of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government. He is currently governing from the southern coastal city of Aden, rather than the capital Sanaa however.

The UAE is reported to have a large involvement in the Yemen operation. Air assets involved are known to include around 10-15 F-16E/F Fighting Falcons, and UAEAF Airbus A330 Multi-Role tanker transports as well as the C-17 and C-130 airlifters. Recent TV images from Al-Anad air base near Aden showed UAEAF Iomax AT-802 Border Patrol Aircraft being flown by Yemeni pilots suggesting they had been gifted to that country. The same images also showed UAE Bell 407MRHs operating from the same location.

Lt. Gen. Charles Brown, commander of the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command, told ShowNews at the conference that the U.S. was assisting the Yemeni operation with aerial refueling as well as some limited intelligence and logistical support.