Conflict Armament Research (CAR) has previously documented drones in Ukraine that are marked with the Russian word for geranium, “geran,” implying at first glance that they are of Russian origin. The research center had said the unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, were all Iranian-made Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 models.
But when CAR investigators got their hands on the physical remnants of two Geran-2 Russian drones used in Ukraine last month, a detailed analysis showed that Russia “has started producing and fielding its own domestic version of the Shahed-136,” the research center declared.
Investigators added “major differences in the airframe construction and in the internal units, including for navigation” showed that the two UAVs were manufactured in Russia rather than Iran.
The researchers described the development as a turning point in Moscow’s ability to extend its heavy use of the unmanned weapons.
“Almost a year after the first use of Iranian-manufactured UAVs in Ukraine, evidence that the Russian Federation has begun producing its own domestic versions marks a significant evolution in the country’s UAV capabilities that will allow it to sustain its reliance on single-use UAVs,” investigators wrote.
Russia “now has more than one pathway to still be able to sustain its current attack patterns” in Ukraine, CAR added.
The researchers said Russia “has distilled the principles of the Shahed series UAV, while simplifying its functioning by combining new solutions” and will likely be able to produce new UAVs fairly quickly.
Both Iran and Russia have repeatedly denied claims that Tehran has provided Moscow with drones to be used in the Ukraine war.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian in November dismissed media controversy over Iran’s alleged support for Russia in the Ukraine war, adding, however, that Tehran had provided Moscow with a limited number of drones months before the war in Ukraine.
He also assured that Iran will not be indifferent if it is proven that Russia has used Iranian drones in the conflict.
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has also blasted these reports as bogus and stressed that the Russian army used domestically-made drones.