Russia and Iran to co-produce 6,000 new, fast kamikaze super-drones
A high-powered Iranian delegation landed secretly in the town of Yelabuga, 960km east of Moscow, on Jan 5, ready to meet the Russian demand for a new super-drone for the Ukraine war that would outperform in speed and silent operation the Shahed-136 hitherto supplied by Iran.
The Russians complained that Ukrainian air defenses have already downed 540 of the 1,000 those Iranian UAVs deployed in the war. What was needed was a model drone able to carry forward Russia’s military operations in Ukraine with substantially less losses.
To discuss Moscow’s demand, Tehran posted two top executives to the Russian town on the Kama River: Brig. Gen. Abdollah Mehrabi, head of the Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) Aerospace Force Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization; and Ghassem Damavandian, Chief Executive of Iran’s Qods Aviation Industry, which manufactures most of Iran’s drones.
US intelligence sources disclose that in a single day of talks, the Russian and Iranian officials came to an agreement to build a joint new facility at Yelabuga for the co-production of super drones This project was to come under the $1bn military accord already forged between Moscow and Tehran. The new factory aims to turn out 6,000 new UAVs. There was no indication of a time scale for completing this huge order.
This massive transaction is of concern not just to the United States but to Israel as well. As part of their military collaboration, Moscow is committed to providing Iran with Russian weapons and engineering specialists. They will be sent to instruct Iranian military officers in the use of the Western weaponry the Russians have captured from Ukraine forces, including the advanced air defense systems the Americans have provided to support Kiev’s war effort.