Mohajer-6 reconnaissance and strike drone of the Iranian military. (Photo credit: Ministry of Defense of Iran)
Ukraine claims that at least three fourths of the internal components of Iranian drones allegedly used on the battlefield by Russia are manufactured by companies in the US, Europe, Japan, and other western nations.
The components were identified by Ukraine’s military intelligence and their findings verified by the Kiev-based Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (NAKO), according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Western-made components allegedly are used to guide, power, and steer the drones. NAKO claims this information was determined by studying several downed Shahed-136 suicide drones and a Mohajer-6 drone that was allegedly “hacked midflight and landed intact.”
These parts include servomotors manufactured by Japan’s Tonegawa-Seiko Co., electronic components developed by German-owned Infineon Technologies AG and Arizona-based Microchip Technology Inc. – two of the world’s leading chip manufacturers – and even a telescopic infrared lens that is allegedly “identical” to a model made by Israeli firm Ophir Optronics Solutions Ltd.
According to the report, most of these parts are not under export controls and can be bought over the internet.
The WSJ cites officials in the weapons-making industry as saying that, following Kiev’s allegations, the US Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security launched an investigation into the Western-origin parts.
Israel’s Defense Ministry says it is also reviewing Ukraine’s findings.
The allegations by NAKO came on the same day when the US and Israel accused Iran of attacking an Israeli-owned oil tanker off the coast of Oman. It also follows on the heels of a concerted misinformation campaign targeting the Islamic Republic at a time when the nation is grappling with severe internal strife.
Iran maintains that the drones being used by Russia were delivered months before the start of the war in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Tehran scheduled a meeting with Ukrainian military officials to review their findings regarding the drones, but Kiev canceled it at the last minute, reportedly under pressure from Washington and Berlin.
A few days later, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a speech that Iran must be “punished” for selling arms to Russia.
Western security officials have previously called Iran’s burgeoning drone program a “bigger immediate threat” than their nuclear energy program.
Last month, Iran’s head advisor for military affairs, Major General Rahim Safavi, said 22 nations have sent requests to Tehran to purchase Iranian attack drones, including Armenia, Algeria, Serbia, Tajikistan, and Venezuela.
He also stated that Iran currently produces 80 percent of its defense requirements internally. Furthermore, last week Iranian officials announced the start of production of Iran’s own hypersonic ballistic missile.