Ukraine, ‘made in Iran’ drones are a problem: analysis

Defense systems capable of hitting them are expensive, designed for more challenging threats

The wreckage of the ‘made in Iran’ drones used by Russia against civilian targets in Ukraine, the Shahed-136 that the forces of Kiev have dubbed the “lawn mowers” for the noise they make when approaching the target, are carefully studied by specialists Americans, but also Estonians, to acquire valuable information to better identify and counter them before they hit their targets, reports the Washington Post, denouncing however that at the moment “they constitute a significant problem”.

In fact, the defense analysts consulted point out that the defense systems capable of hitting them are expensive, designed for more demanding threats, such as airplanes and helicopters, and their production takes months or years. The political path has been launched at the UN, where the possibility that the sending of these weapons to Russia, by Iran, violates the resolutions approved after the nuclear agreement, namely the prohibition of exporting weapon systems with a range exceeding 300 kilometers.

Iranian drones are launched from three Russian military bases in Crimea and from a fourth position in Belarus, sites too far away to be hit by long-range American-sourced rocket launchers. In fact, there is currently no single system to counter them, it emerges. Iranian military advisers were sent to the Russian-controlled areas, where they provided the operators with technical instructions for using the systems.

The drone flies at low altitudes and has few metal components, making it difficult to intercept it with radar and other sensors in time, before it hits its targets. In any case, Kiev claims to have destroyed 220 since last September 13th.

The Estonian Minister of Defense, Hanno Pevkur, stressed the urgency of studying drones ‘made in Iran’ for all countries in the region. “It is not just a problem of Ukraine that is at war right now, it affects all of us who are in the situation we are in,” he said.

Iran produces several models of drones that it supplies to Hezbollah, in Lebanon, and to the Houti rebels in Yemen and, according to Washington, also to the anti-US rebels in Syria who used them to strike the US base in Tanf in August. The Houtis used Iranian-made Samad-3 drones to attack a refinery in Riyadh last spring, and Samad-1 against sites of Aramco, the Saudi oil company. In February, Houtis used drones to hit several targets in the UAE and Sanaa. But the drones available to the Russians are an evolved version, capable of circumnavigating the Ukrainian defenses.