In recent weeks, Iranian drones have allegedly been used by Russia to target critical energy infrastructure in Ukraine.
In October, the WSJ cited a report documenting how Iran could supply drones to its Houthi allies in Yemen and evade sanctions using commercial companies to acquire parts.
Washington has also accused Tehran of sourcing parts for its drone programme from Beijing.
More than 30 components manufactured by Western companies were found in the Iranianian-made Shahed-136 one-way attack drones, according to the investigators of the Trap Aggressor project. The Trap Aggressor experts examined a kamikaze drone shot down by the Ukrainian military on 13 October 2022 above the Black Sea near the southern city of Odesa. The drone lost its warhead, but the rest of its parts remained intact.
The investigators examined the parts of the Iranian Shahed-136 in partnership with the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission.
Since early September, Russians have been attacking Ukrainian civilians with the Shahed-136 Iranian drones which were colloquially dubbed “mopeds” for the peculiar sound they produce during the flight.
The Shahed-136s were developed by HESA, an Iran-based aircraft manufacturing industrial company. The UAV weighs approximately 200 kilograms, 40 of which are its warhead. The explosive charge and optics for accurate attack are placed in the front of the UAV. These kamikaze drones are launched from a truck in series and can reach a velocity of more than 185 kilometers per hour midair. The Russian military renamed the aerial vehicle Geran-2 to disguise the Iranian origin of this weapon.
The Ukrainian intelligence disassembled several Shahed-136s and found that almost every part of the drone is of American or European origin. The only domestically-produced component is its engine.
The manufacturer of the Shahed-136’s engine is the Iranian Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company (MADO). It specializes in drone component production and imports-exports of commercial products. According to the US Treasury Department, MADO procured UAV engines for organizations affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. On 29 October 2021, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the company and its managers for purchasing engines and parts for Iran’s military industry, freezing its assets under US jurisdiction. The same sanctions apply to foreign parties who facilitate the organization’s transactions or otherwise help it.
All parts inside the Shaheds but their engines are foreign-made. The Ukrainian intelligence managed to identify more than 30 European and American companies that had produced the components used in the Shahed. Most of the parts are US-made. Its servo drive comes from the American Hitec USA Group, its batteries are from the Japanese Panasonic, and the Canadian Tallysman produced its ceramic chip antenna. The Shahed’s control board is assembled from Japanese and American parts. The power supply board is made of German and Chinese components. The control unit was produced by the Russian plant Zapadpribor.
The Shahed’s boards, digital signal processors, transceivers, drivers, and receivers were manufactured by the Texas Instruments company, which continued to work with Russia after Russia had annexed Crimea and unleashed the war in the Donbas in 2014. After the last month’s TrapAgressor’s report on the Russian Iskander cruise missiles that shed light on their production, Texas Instruments finally answered regarding whether they were going to continue to trade with the Russian Federation: the company said it doesn’t supply anything directly to the Russian market.
Texas Instruments even promised to remove all references to Russia from its website which included the address of its Moscow branch and the phone number, yet those references remain on the site to this day (the contact Russian phone has been removed as of Nov 17 evening, the time of the publication of this English-language version of the material, the original video was published on YouTube on Nov 16, – Ed.). Instead, they added the following note: ” If you need to contact us in a country not listed above, please reach out to our customer support center”
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