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82 Percent of Components in Iranian-Made Drones ‘Contributed’ by the US – Study

"In all three models of Iranian-made drones, we found 500 different components. We have identified that 82 percent of these components were made in the United States," -- Conflict Armament Research,

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — A study conducted by a group of independent British researchers found that 82 percent of the components of Iranian-made unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) used by the Russian military in Ukraine are made by American companies.

The research group, Conflict Armament Research, was invited to Ukraine and conducted a study on three Iranian-made drones: the Shahed-131, Shahed-136, and Mohajer-6, which are being used by Russia in Ukraine.

The Iranian-made drones used by the Russian military arrived in Ukraine in August last year, according to information from US military officials.

The Ukrainian military alleges that Russia is using these Iranian-made drones to destroy Western-backed assets, such as artillery, as well as public infrastructure like power plants, ports as well military administrative centers of the Ukrainian armed forces.

The Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 are kamikaze drones designed to explode upon hitting their target, while the Mohajer-6 is an armed drone used for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions as well as attacks.

Iranian suicide drone “Shahed-136”.


“In all three models of Iranian-made drones, we found 500 different components. We have identified that 82 percent of these components were made in the United States,” said Damien Spleeters, who led the research group.

Most of these components were manufactured in 2021 and 2022.

 Many of the components originated from the United States and European Union countries, despite Iran facing strict military sanctions from these nations, he said.

This suggests that the sanctions imposed on Iran have not been effective, according to Spleeters.

The Iranian company that produces these drones, Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries Corporation (HESA), has been under US sanctions since 2008.

Iranian drone “Shahed-136” before striking a civilian infrastructure in Kiev.
“Ababil” Iran

“I have often spoken to law enforcement that it is somewhat difficult to enforce sanctions because these components are everywhere. But there are items that we found that are quite sophisticated,” he said.

In addition to finding advanced semiconductors in Iranian-made weapons, the independent research group also identified cheap and readily available chips.

“Many of the chips used in military systems like drones are also widely used in civilian goods,” according to Prof. Chris Miller, author of “Chip Wars” and a lecturer at Tufts University.

The research group stated that their analysis of Iranian drones since 2017 shows that the systems are not only becoming more sophisticated and modern but also increasingly capable in terms of performance.

The electronic components found in Shahed drones indicate that they are capable of flying precisely to their target even when subjected to electronic interference, as they are equipped with satellite navigation modules that allow them to continue operating in areas where satellite navigation signals have been jammed.

“There has been a significant increase in the capabilities of Iranian drones. They (Iran) have successfully added more capabilities and resilience to the weapons systems they export,” he said. — DSA



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