Ukraine (bbabo.net), - The special operation in Ukraine has demonstrated the need for drones in any modern army in the world. If at the very beginning of the SVO, the Turkish Bayraktar UAVs used by the Ukrainian side constantly flashed in the information field, now the Geran-2 drones used by Russia appear to a greater extent.
According to reports coming from Ukraine and from Western countries, the Iranian Shahed-136 long-range kamikaze drone became the prototype of Geranium-2. Its effectiveness came as a real surprise, forcing many to reconsider their views on the Iranian military-industrial complex.
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Demand for Iranian weaponsThe former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and chief military aide to the Iranian Supreme Leader, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi said that many countries lined up for Iranian drones. He counted 22 states, including Armenia, Tajikistan, Serbia, Algeria and Venezuela.
“Now we have reached a point where 22 countries have approached us with a request to sell them combat drones,” said Safavi.
The conflict in Ukraine has become a successful PR campaign for Iranian UAVs. The first deliveries of drones were discussed at the end of August. It was about the devices Mohajer-6 and Shahed-136. Moreover, Ukraine did not become the first field for testing drones in combat. Tehran has supplied and used its UAVs in conflicts in the Middle East - in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. But in the Middle Eastern theaters of operations, Iranian drones have not received as much attention. This is probably what caused the skepticism in the expert community about the effectiveness of the use of drones in the new conditions. Although Iran has supplied military drones to armed groups, Tehran has rarely tested such models against the sophisticated air defense and electronic warfare systems used in Ukraine, according to Michael Knights, a military expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“These Iranian drones have not previously worked in difficult air defense conditions. The closest they came to this was during Houthi strikes in Saudi Arabia or during attacks on American bases in Iraq, and they usually had difficulties. Therefore, I would not be surprised that in a more tense situation in Ukraine, they will have some problems, ”he said.
However, the reality turned out to be completely different. UAVs have demonstrated their effectiveness and ability to cover long distances, despite various interferences. Indicative was the work of drones in the depths of the territory of Ukraine, as, for example, during the attacks on Odessa and Kyiv.
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Price — qualityAt the very beginning of the NMD, the successful use of Turkish Bayraktar drones played into the hands of the Ukrainian side. But at the current stage, these UAVs have practically disappeared from the information field. Apparently, Ankara has reduced the number of deliveries of drones. However, the main reason probably lies in the fact that the Russian Armed Forces have adapted to the situation and began to effectively deal with Turkish UAVs. It is also worth noting that Bayraktar is an expensive vehicle in its class of drones.
As for Shahed-136, this model is one of the cheapest in its class. Estimated cost ranges from $20,000 to $50,000. At this price, the cost of kamikaze drones is much lower than the air defense and electronic warfare systems used to combat them. Experts from the international network of military analysts Molfar estimated the cost of drones shot down from October 13 to 17 at $11.7-17.9 million, and the cost of weapons used to combat them at $28.1 million.
In terms of performance characteristics, Shahed also has an advantage. A military expert, ex-chief of the anti-aircraft missile forces of the Special Forces Command (Moscow Air Defense District), Colonel Sergei Khatylev, agrees with this.
“It is known that compared to the Turkish Bayraktars, the Iranian Shahed drones have a more powerful engine. The guidance system is also better. "Bayraktar" is guided using laser illumination, and "Shahed" uses TV guidance, which is much more effective. In addition, the Iranian drone can carry high-explosive bombs and missiles, which are used to destroy armored vehicles. That is, they can strike at tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles. The Americans are very afraid that their vaunted HIMARS will become targets for Iranian drones. Until now, while our drones were used, we did not have such opportunities: our strike drones have a shorter range and they carry weapons of small power. And with the advent of the Iranian Shahed, this opportunity already appears, ”he noted.Back to news »
New suppliesThe American newspaper The Washington Post, citing sources in the US intelligence services, reported that Russia and Iran have concluded a new agreement on military supplies, which now includes not only drones, but also ground-to-ground missiles . Based on the information provided, Moscow will receive from Tehran a batch of short-range ballistic missiles Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar, capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to 300 and 700 kilometers, respectively. In addition, new deliveries of dozens of Mohajer-6 and Shahed-136 UAVs are being prepared.
According to military expert Boris Rozhin, citing Iranian sources, Russia has also ordered new Arash-2 drones. In his opinion, this UAV model is superior to Geran-2.
“The warhead of the new drone is much larger than that of the Geranium. Iran actually has many different interesting UAVs - reconnaissance, strike, kamikaze. Many of them have been tested in combat operations on various theaters of operations,” he said.
The expert focuses on the need not only to purchase Iranian drones, but also to borrow technology to expand production within Russia.
“Here, in fact, there should be interest not only in buying, but also in deploying assembly lines for production on the territory of the country, both domestic and foreign (under license). Because buying what you need from a friendly country is, of course, good, but in the long term you need to strive for military self-sufficiency, which in the current realities is an important component of subjective foreign policy. The fact that there is Iran or China that can lend a hand in various issues is good, but the military-industrial complex should strive for a full cycle of production of everything necessary within the country.”
As far as missiles are concerned, Iranian supplies may also become very necessary for Russia. This is especially true for the range of IRI missiles. Yuri Lyamin, an expert on Iranian military issues, agrees with this position.
“Missiles like Zolfaghar, in my opinion, would really not be superfluous for us. There, the range of these short-range Iranian ballistic missiles is 700 km, which, when launched from the territory of our front-line regions, covers the vast majority of the territory of Ukraine. Let me remind you that within the framework of the treaty with the United States on the elimination of intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, which was in force in 1988-2019. It was forbidden to manufacture and test ground-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 km. And among the Fateh-110 family there are also very interesting variants of missiles with various homing heads for high-precision destruction of various sea and ground targets, which could well be useful to us now, ”he said.
Given Tehran's increased military supplies and the effectiveness of its weapons, the demand for the Iranian military-industrial complex will only increase. However, it is worth making a reservation that only those countries that are able to ignore Western sanctions will become real buyers.