Iran evades sanctions by using US technology available on the web to build the drones it supplies to Russia.
Intelligence reports highlight the crude nature of the Shahed-136 kamikaze drones (inset below) and the Mohajer-6 surveillance drones used by Russia.
The report came as a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force said more than 300 Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) had been shot down since they were introduced to the battlefield just over a month ago.
Drones have become Russia’s primary weapon and have been used to attack critical infrastructure. The expendable drone hovers over the target before slamming into it with a 50kg warhead.
Ukrainian security experts have investigated the downed kamikaze drone and concluded that it used a flight control and targeting system similar to DJI drones made by US chip maker Texas Instruments. rice field.
The company’s GPS system is said to include components from Hemisphere, a US technology company that designs and manufactures positioning products for use in agriculture, construction and mining.
The fuel pump and associated valves were made in Poland, and the engine was purchased from AliExpress, the e-commerce site of Chinese giant Alibaba.
In another investigation of the Iranian Mohajar 6 reconnaissance and attack drone that was shot down over the Black Sea last month, Ukrainian experts found a similar number of household parts.
Although built primarily for surveillance, it can carry a 100kg weapon payload and has a flight range of 200km.
Drones were found to have parts made by Japanese companies such as Sony, Panasonic and Fujitsu, as well as lesser-known companies from the US, Canada and the Netherlands.
A solitary chip that is part of the drone’s power unit was manufactured by Ukrainian technology company Radiorele, according to intelligence documents.
Many of the internal components are manufactured for household use and are not military hardware.
Both types of UAVs are believed to be manufactured by Iranian Aircraft Manufacturing Industries, although Iran denies supplying drones to the Russian military.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, the engineers used English inscriptions (including grammatical errors) inside the machine to try to cover their tracks.
Harsh sanctions on Iran mean Iranian engineers are being forced to use home-made technology to build military-grade machines.
Ukrainian officials are working with their G7 counterparts to prevent Tehran from acquiring dual-use components in the future.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Anthony Brinken called the use of drones “appalling” and vowed to crack down on their use.
“Canada and the United States will work with allies and partners to expose, deter, and counter Iran’s provision of these weapons,” he said.
Israel, which has remained cautious about its involvement in the war between Russia and Ukraine, has promised to show Washington evidence that Iranian-made drones are being used against Kyiv.
Western officials believe Russia sought out Iranian drones to fill its depleted shortage of long-range precision weapons.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday that Russia launched more than 30 drone strikes in two days.
In a clip recorded next to the shot down Shahed-136, he promised to “cut off the wings” of Moscow’s air power.
“We continue to resist. The invaders continue to terrorize us.