Russia and Iran agree deal to build advanced drone factory

Shabab missile > Hossein Velayati, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Iran and Russia are finalising plans to build an advanced drone factory, according to weekend media reports.

The new plant – which will be located nearly 600 miles east of Moscow – is intended to manufacture 6,000 drones for Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The advanced drone will be based on Iran’s Shahed-136 that’s capable of evading Ukraine’s air defence system. Shahed drones have been supplied by Iran to Russia and used to deadly effect in Ukraine. The weapons are seen as tactically useless and designed to terrorise civilians.

A high-level Iranian delegation is said to have already visited the planned drone factory site, near the town of Yelabuga. It was led by Abdollah Mehrabi, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organisation, and Ghassem Damavandian, the chief executive of Iran’s Quds Aviation Industry.

Last week, Israel’s Mossad intelligence service is believed to have been responsible for a drone strike against a factory which produces advanced weapons in the Iranian city of Isfahan. The WSJ reported that Israel believes its objectives were met.

Benjamin Netanyahu told French TV at the weekend that Israel may soon supply its Iron Dome system to Ukraine.