A view of drones during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran

Russia Advances Mass Production Of Iranian Attack Drones

Thursday, 08/17/2023

Russia is making significant strides in the mass production of an Iranian-designed attack drone, capable of targeting Ukrainian urban areas from over 1,000 miles away.

According to a report in the Washington Post, leaked documents from an insider within the Russian Republic of Tatarstan's Alabuga Special Economic Zone, indicate that, despite delays and a production process that affected by sanctions affecting essential components, Moscow has made steady progress toward its goal of manufacturing the Iranian Shahed-136, an attack drone capable of traveling more than 1,000 miles.

The source, opposing Russia's military involvement in Ukraine, also shed light on the complexity of the situation. Iran acknowledges supplying drones to Russia but insists these transactions occurred prior to Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

While Russia had initially denied deploying Iranian drones in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin supports expanding domestic drone production, envisioning an industry value exceeding $20 billion. Russian officials are yet to respond to the Washington Post's findings.

The report also asserts that Russia has built an autonomous drone production facility in the Tatarstan region, 500 miles east of Moscow, with plans to manufacture around 6,000 drones by mid-2025. Engineers at the facility are working on enhancing the Iranian drone's design, aiming for larger-scale production and improved quality. They are also exploring capabilities for coordinated "swarm attacks." Spanning from winter 2022 to spring 2023, the documents encompass blueprints, schematics, and crucial details, some of which were previously reported by the Russian news outlet Protokol.

In response, Washington has imposed sanctions on Russia and Iran, targeting key figures within a defense firm associated with drone supply to Russia. Several entities and individuals engaged in drone-related activities are also subject to sanctions.

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