More Iranian ‘killers’ for Russia, US will target them, but in 2023
PANAGYURISHTE ($1=1.98 Bulgarian Levs) — Iran no longer hides deliveries to Russia. Despite the timid PR attempts of the Kremlin – Russia too. The bad news for Ukraine is not the Iranian weapons, but the time. Ukraine and the US are racing against time, and in May Washington wrote off 2022 as the year for a major Ukrainian success. Everything is focused on 2023 when Ukraine is expected to win. Here is the situation:
- What did Moscow give Tehran to get thousands of Iranian UAVs?
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Russia is buying another 450 Shahed-series kamikaze drones, as well as an untold number of surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. The information was provided by CNN, citing Western military officials who are familiar with the Ukrainian crisis and monitor developments on all fronts of the war.
Fateh and Zolfaghar are the short-range ballistic missiles that Tehran will sell to Russia. The deal was concluded early last month, on October 6, and this news was confirmed by senior Iranian officials. Reuters quoted them in its report on the situation in Ukraine. Moreover, as a signal of a deal between Moscow and Tehran, the meeting in Moscow very recently between the Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Mohbar and senior military representatives of the IRGC is pointed out.
Russia has failed in the production of its own drones in recent years. First, Moscow clearly did not foresee in time that these weapons systems would play a significant role in the war. As if there was not enough evidence of their role and effectiveness in Libya, Syria, and Nagorno-Karabagh. Recently, a senior military officer admitted that Russian drones do not meet the requirements, which casts serious doubt on the state tests conducted over the years, or the procedure for conducting them.
However, Russia’s ballistic missiles are needed. Apparently, there is a depletion of Russian stocks. After addressing North Korea, Russia is clearly not satisfied with Kim’s missiles, so it is looking to Tehran for help. Ok, Iranian missiles are really precise and accurate, but they have one drawback – they have a ballistic trajectory, i.e. predictable, and easily intercepted by air defense systems. I.e. these missiles are not at all suitable for penetrating enemy anti-ballistic missile [ABM] defenses.
However, Kyiv is worried, and apparently, there is a reason. Despite widely publicized promises from Ukraine’s allies, air defense systems have arrived slowly, sluggishly, and accompanied by bureaucratic hiccups. Yuriy Ignat, a spokesman for the Air Force Command of Ukraine, said today, October 2, that Ukraine currently does not have an effective defense against these missiles. “It is theoretically possible to take them down, but it is very difficult to do so with the means we have at our disposal at the moment,” Ignat said.
There are ways for the US and allies to respond to Iranian supplies. OK, if Ukraine is incapable of taking them down, the US should not allow them to be delivered. Declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine is one option to delay supplies. It remains to transport them by land, which suggests that the US and Israel will be able to launch airstrikes against Iranian bases in Syria, for example. It’s done almost every week.
Now, however, a strike on Iranian territory could seriously escalate the situation around the world. Therefore, the better option is acts of sabotage, as the Crimean bridge was blown up. Guerrilla groups are coming back into fashion, and Ukraine has been using them quite successfully in recent months. Of course, if the US supplies ATAKMS to Ukraine, this means damage to Russian infrastructure, but not an end to the supply of Iranian weapons.
However, another problem is brewing, and Ukraine may pay a heavy price. If the delivery of ballistic missiles is somehow delayed or thwarted, what do we do with Iran’s Shahed series kamikaze drones? It has become clear that Russia has ordered hundreds more of these drones. Some engage in successful attacks, and some do not. The US and Ukraine are looking for a solution to deal with these Iranian “killers”.
The big news – the USA promised the so-called Vampire counter-drone weapon system. Experts say that this L3 Harris system will “vaporize” Iranian loitering munitions in no time. The bad news – Ukraine will receive them in mid-2023. I.e. for Ukraine, the problem is not the Iranian drones, but the excessively long time interval until the first delivery. Wouldn’t that be a little too much?
The Pentagon has yet to commission the production of these “Vampires”. Some say it will be at least two months before the contract is awarded. The London-based Royal United Services Institute says, “Now is the time for Ukraine’s partners to lay the groundwork for a military victory in 2023.” Apparently, the “Vampires” are counting on that big win next year.
Until then, how can Ukraine deal with Iranian drones? Let’s not forget – what Russia buys from Iran is first modernized in Russian drone plants and then sent to the front. Russia is modernizing Iranian drones to increase their range and make them more precise by integrating various navigation systems.
Thus, the main priority remains air defense systems, but above all their quick delivery to Ukraine. Some bureaucratic stumbling blocks and alliance disputes accompanied by disagreements clearly need to end. The energy for these disputes is misdirected while Ukraine suffers daily pleas for quick air defense supplies.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. General Pat Ryder said: “Air defense continues to be a priority. This is something we will continue to focus on and work on as quickly as possible.” OK, that much is clear, but does it become clear that the time is not working in favor of Ukraine?
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