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Iran’s Shahed Drones Used by Russia in Ukraine War are Powered by Stolen German Technology: Report

Last Updated: April 28, 2023, 15:10 IST

A picture released on September 27, 2013 by the official website of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shows a newly Iranian-made drone, Shahed 129 (Witness 129) being shown in Tehran. (AFP)

Russia started using Shahed-136 drone in September last year, attacking military targets in the Kharkiv region in the east of Ukraine

The powerful Iranian drones which have been deployed by Russia in Ukraine are based on Western technology which was allegedly stolen by Tehran, a report has claimed.

A report in CNN, quoting Conflict Armament Research, said that the Shahed-136 drones sold to Russia by Iran are powered by German technology, which was illegally acquired by Iran almost 20 years ago.

Russia has been using swarms of Shahed-136 drones along with its indigenous-built drones to attack Ukrainian facilities.

The Western countries are worried that the Russians may share the Western-made weapons and equipment recovered in Ukraine with the Iranians. However, there has been no firm evidence to suggest that this has happened.

The findings were revealed after a detailed examination of the components recovered in Ukraine and underlined Iran’s ability to mimic and develop military technology obtained illegally.

The report said that the motor in the Shahed-136 was reverse-engineered by an Iranian company called Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar, also known as Mado.

Mado plays a significant role in Iran’s expansive drone industry and was sanctioned by the UK, US, and European Union last year.

Iranian drones are constantly being modernized and have proven to be increasingly accurate in terms of their targeting and guidance systems and also in counter-jamming capabilities, Taimur Khan, Gulf analyst at CAR told CNN.

The Shahed-136 drones is a long-range loitering munition designed to attack ground targets at range. It is developed to avoid aerial defence and attack ground targets by launching numerous instances from a waiting launcher rack.

Russia started using Shahed-136 drone in September last year, attacking military targets in the Kharkiv region in the east of Ukraine. Russia had ordered about 1,700 Iranian drones of different types, reports said.

The relations between Russia and Iran have grown as Russia wants Iranian drones and ballistic missiles while Tehran wants Russian investment and trade in return.

The drone sales have deepened Iran’s relations with Moscow, which were already strengthening as the two countries were increasingly isolated by the west and the international financial system.

Moscow has become the largest foreign investor in the country over the past year, the report said.

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