What did Moscow give Tehran to get thousands of Iranian UAVs?
PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.98 Bulgarian Levs) — Russia has become much more active in using unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs or drones] in the war in Ukraine. By the end of September, mostly reconnaissance and not so much loitering munitions were fired by the Russian armed forces.
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However, October was the month Russia learned it had attack drones and kamikaze drones, known among military experts and tacticians as loitering munitions. Remains of unexploded loitering munitions revealed that Russia used quantities of [but not limited to] Iranian-made Shahed-129 and Shahed-136. The first is a reconnaissance and attack drone, and the second explodes upon reaching the target. Russia armed both with the GLONASS navigation system to increase their range and for better efficiency.
The Russian flagship in the last years before the start of the war was Orlan-10. Orlan was heavily advertised as being hard to kill, but completely failed in Ukraine. Hundreds have been shot down and some have even been manually modified just to fulfill their mission. We even have a picture of Orlan-10 with a plastic water bottle adapted as a fuel tank. This says enough that Russia did not attach much importance to a possible drone war, which is actually being waged in Ukraine at the moment. Moscow realized the need for drones late, especially after it was denied access to the much-needed chips. This is how the Iranian kamikazes appeared.
But what did Russia give Iran to get them? It is already difficult for Moscow to deny their existence as part of the inventory of the Russian army. We already reported back in the summer that Russian officials were in Tehran visiting the drone factories. All Western intelligence reported this fact.
Money? In the situation it is in, the Russian Federation could have paid 100 for the drone, but rather not. Moscow has the money to buy Iranian drones, but in war, all resources are diverted to production, repair, or refurbishment.
Some claim that Moscow has already sold [gifted] at a very low super-preferential price about 60 Su-35 Flanker-F fighters for thousands of Iranian drones. Iran needs fighter jets because the local Air Force is in an unfit state for modern combat or military requirements. American media claim the same thing, although, at the moment, there is no real evidence that such a transfer of technology has taken place.
Iran needs air defense systems too. We have repeatedly written that Tehran has an appetite not only for the Russian S-400 but also for their latest S-500 air defense system, adapted to shoot down low-orbit satellites. However, such a transfer has also not been proven to have occurred.
It is possible that Russia provided another type of weaponry other than the requested air defense systems and aircraft from the Islamic Republic. However, it is a fact that Russia is losing market positions, especially in the international markets for fighter jets. Some customers have already given up Russian fighter jets due to the threat of economic sanctions from Washington under the CAATSA law. But for Russia, CAATSA is the least of their problems right now.
The bigger problem is the poor performance of Russian fighter jets in the war in Ukraine. At least two squadrons of Su-35s are said to have been shot down over Ukraine. If this is true, against the background of the impossibility of serious serial production of the Su-57, nor clarity about the “chessman” Su-75, the Russian aero industry is headed for devastating “bad publicity” that will negatively affect their sales. even if the war stopped today.
And last but not least – there is a drone war. And the Russian-made drones lose it, at the expense of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 and apparently the Iranian drones of the Shahed series. Russia’s aerospace industry in the military equipment part is slowly going downhill, toward the precipice of impossible existence.
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