BMPDPlans for the construction of a plant for the production of Iranian UAVs in Yelabuga
The American newspaper "The Wall Street Journal" in the material Dion Nissenbaum and Warren P. Strobe "Moscow, Tehran Advance Plans for Iranian-Designed Drone Facility in Russia. The two countries are deepening a military partnership that has alarmed the West" ("Moscow and Tehran is moving ahead with plans to set up a plant to produce Iranian-designed unmanned aerial vehicles in Russia. The two countries are deepening a military partnership that is increasingly worrying to the West") reports on a joint Russian-Iranian project to build a plant for the production of unmanned aerial vehicles in Yelabuga, Tatarstan and loitering ammunition of Iranian development.
Moscow and Tehran are advancing on plans to build a new factory in Russia that could manufacture at least 6,000 Iranian-designed drones for the war in Ukraine, officials from the U.S.-linked country said, signaling deepening cooperation between the two countries. .
As part of the emerging military alliance, a high-ranking Iranian delegation flew to Russia in early January to visit a planned site for the plant and
work out the details of launching the project. Both countries are aiming to develop a faster drone that could create new challenges for Ukraine's air defenses, officials said.
Tehran has already provided hundreds of drones to Moscow, with which it has used to strike military and civilian targets in Ukraine, US officials said. And the Biden administration has warned that Russia and Iran are developing a "full-fledged defense partnership."
The White House said Moscow has been training Iranian pilots to fly Russian jet fighters, which it intends to deliver to Tehran by the end of the year.
In December, the White House warned that Moscow and Tehran were considering setting up a joint production line to produce drones in Russia.
Now, from a country allied with the United States, talks have turned into concrete plans, officials say, with a January 5 visit [by an Iranian delegation] to the Russian city of Yelabuga, about 600 miles east of Moscow. The Iranians visited a vacant site where the leaders of the two countries are planning to build a new plant that will be able to produce at least 6,000 drones in the coming years.
Officials said the Iranian delegation was led by Brigadier General Abdollah Mehrabi, head of the Jihad Research and Self-Sustainment Organization of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force, and Ghasem Damavandyan, executive director of Iran's Qods Aviation Industries, a key defense manufacturer that the US believes plays a central role in role in the development and production of drones in Iran.
Russian and Iranian officials did not respond to requests for comment.
So far, Iran has supplied Russia mainly with so-called Shahed-136 kamikaze [loitering munitions] drones containing a small explosive charge that detonates when the drone hits a target, according to US and Ukrainian officials.
Russia has used these drones to strike Ukraine's power grid in an attempt to disable the country's power and electricity supply during the cold winter and sap morale. After some time, Ukraine's air defense managed to largely neutralize the threat of drones. The Shahed-136 is a slow and noisy drone with a propeller engine, making it relatively easy to spot and shoot down. Ukraine has shot down more than 540 drones since they began appearing in the country's skies last fall, according to the Ukrainian Air Force.
Now, officials say, Iran is working with Russia to develop an upgrade to the Shahed-136 that is expected to include a new engine so it can fly faster and farther. The new plant [in Yelabuga] will produce this upgraded drone. This could create new problems for Ukraine and other countries that could become targets for these drones.
Earthworks at the plant have not yet begun, so this production line is not expected to have an immediate impact on the balance of power in Ukraine, where there are signs of Russian intentions to launch a new offensive in the coming weeks.
The drone factory is part of a $1 billion deal between Russia and Iran, officials said. Moscow has provided Iran with weapons captured from the battlefield in Ukraine, which they are trying to replicate, officials said.
The US warned that Iran had also agreed to supply ballistic missiles to Moscow. So far, however, according to US officials and their allies, there is no indication that Tehran has sent such missiles to Russia.
Russia and Iran continue to develop closer ties in various areas. The two countries recently connected their interbank payment messaging systems, paving the way for all Iranian banks to transact with Russian lenders. Both countries face strict international sanctions against their banking industries.
Coincidentally, on January 6, the day after Iranian officials flew to Russia to negotiate a drone factory, the US imposed economic sanctions on Damavandyan.
This head of the Iranian aviation industry is accused by America of overseeing Iran's supply of drones to Russia and training Russian forces in the handling of these weapons. The US imposed economic sanctions on Brigadier General Mehrabi in 2021 when America accused the Iranian military leader of directing the production and procurement of special engines for Iran's fleet of drones.
A colleague of imp_navigator in the material "6000 drones" about this publication says:
The Wall Street Journal writes that in early January, an Iranian delegation visited Russian Yelabuga at the site where they will build a new joint venture for the production of UAVs with an indicated production volume of 6,000 drones (but it is not clear how long). including they write that allegedly they will be producing a new, faster version of kamikaze drones, which is now being developed by Iran and Russia.
The composition of the Iranian delegation is interesting, which, again, according to information from The Wall Street Journal, visited Yelabuga in January on the site for the construction of a Russian plant. Firstly, if the head of the Organization for Jihad Research and Self-Sufficiency of the Aerospace Forces of the IRGC really came, then this once again indicates a very high level of trust between the parties, since this person directly oversees many key developments not only in the field of UAVs, but also Iranian ballistic and cruise missiles. Secondly, if there was an executive director of Qods Aviation Industries, then it is probably not only about kamikaze drones .. Qods Aviation Industries is the developer and manufacturer of Mohajer drones.