According to US media reports, Russia is said to have received combat drones from Iran for military support in the Ukraine war. But there are indications that the Russians are dissatisfied with the drones that have been delivered. During tests, there are said to have been numerous errors with the comparatively slow drones.
As early as mid-July, US security services spoke of indications that Iran was supporting Russia militarily in the Ukraine war. The Russian armed forces are said to have received hundreds of drones from Iran, said security adviser John Sullivan and the spokesman for the US Secretary of State recently. But the Russians are not at all satisfied with the drones delivered from Iran, according to American media such as the Washington Post newspaper and the CNN news channel.
Russian transport planes flew the Shahed-129 and Shahed-191 drones out of Iran in mid-August. Russia is also said to have received the comparatively new Mojaher-6 drone. However, according to the Washington Post report, there were “numerous errors” in the first tests. An employee of a Western secret service is said to have even said: “The Russians are not satisfied.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov then told the state agency TASS that the Washington Post had recently published “a lot of false information”.
US intelligence services are now doubting that the use of Iranian drones will play a crucial role, CNN reports. But for the Russian military, the delivery was originally of great importance, according to experts. Because the armed forces would primarily need combat drones for their attacks in Ukraine. The Iranian drone models could carry precisely guided munitions and be used for surveillance.
Russian armed forces are not the first to receive combat drones from Iran. Iran is said to have already delivered its drones to terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. The Iranian drones are not known for their reliability, an expert told Der Spiegel. Compared to western drones, they are significantly slower. “If you launch ten systems over a medium distance, maybe seven will arrive,” he explained. The 10-year-old Shahed-129 is the most popular Iranian drone with a wingspan of 16 meters. At around 300 kilometers per hour, the Shahed-191 is said to be twice as fast as the previous model.
Vedant Patel, spokesman for the US State Department, said on Tuesday: “As the Russian military suffers from major supply shortages due to sanctions and export controls, Russia is forced to resort to unreliable countries such as Iran for supplies and equipment.” Already published in July US intelligence satellite images showed a Russian delegation visited an Iranian airfield at least twice in June to be shown drones. Even if the Iranian drones don’t have the best reputation, they would work well if the enemy only had “primitive air defense,” the weapons expert told Der Spiegel. According to his analysis, even the Iranian drones could be deadly against poorly protected targets without air defenses.
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