Drones purchased by Russia from Iran are having technical problems, according to Biden administration sources. There are reportedly “numerous malfunctions,” but detailed information is not available.
The Russians took delivery of their first Mohajer-6 and Shahed series drones this month.
Moscow has had to turn to Iran for help because it can no longer produce enough of these aircraft domestically due to tough sanctions imposed by the West. In many of the weapons produced in the Russian Federation are advanced components made in the United States, which are now no longer available. For example, the 4×4 armoured vehicle used by Russian troops, the Tigr, has a US-made Cummins B205 20 engine.
Drones bought by Russia from Iran can, on paper, perform ground attack, electronic warfare and artillery fire control missions on the battlefield in Ukraine.
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Last month, the White House released satellite images indicating that a Russian delegation had visited Iran’s Kashan Airport to see the drones. At the time, a security adviser to President Biden said there was information that Russia would buy hundreds of Iranian drones.
The Russian Federation might have preferred to receive more advanced drones from China, but Beijing has so far shied away from supporting Moscow militarily in the war for fear of sanctions. China’s economy is export-driven, and sanctions such as those imposed on Russia would have devastating effects on it.
The Russians can’t complain much about the quality of Iranian products. They, in turn, supply weapons with many defects. According to Ukrainian intelligence, only 9 of the 24 Su-35s purchased by China from Russia are fully functional. The rest have various technical problems. The contract was worth $2.5 billion.
Also read: Ukraine to get modern aircraft, but not American. Most likely this model will be chosen