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Russia has likely started producing its domestic version of Shahed drones — CAR

remnants of the airframe of a second Geran-2, documented by CAR in Ukraine on 28 July 2023.
Russia has likely started producing its domestic version of Shahed drones — CAR

According to the Conflict Armament Research (CAR) investigation, Russia might have already started producing its domestic version of previous imported from Iran Shahed drones. The CAR has inspected remnants of two Russian drones downed by Ukraine on 27 and 28 July 2023, drawing such conclusions.

The investigation also has determined that “Russian-produced” drones, in fact, rely heavily on imports of components produced by at least 22 different companies based in at least seven countries, including China, the US, and Switzerland. This is yet another proof that Russia is circumventing Western sanctions by conducting imports of western-produced materials through third countries.

“The Geran-2 UAVs documented by CAR investigators in Ukraine are almost exclusively made of components bearing marks of companies based outside the Russian Federation,” the investigation concludes.

Markings on approximately a third of the components CAR documented in the two Geran-2 UAVs indicated a date of manufacture between 2020 and 2023. The investigation has determined that twelve components were manufactured after the invasion in February 2022.

CAR reached the conclusion that these two Geran-2 UAVs were manufactured in the Russian Federation rather than Iran based on major differences in the airframe construction and in the internal units, including for navigation.

While Iranian drones imported into Russia were named Geran in Russia, the new drones have the name Geran-2 and are likely indeed produced in Russia’s domestic facilities.

The Geran-2 follows the same general working principles as the Shahed UAVs, while streamlining and simplifying the UAVs by incorporating solutions directly copied from the Shahed series, together with domestic, battle-tested modules that CAR has previously observed in other Russian weapon systems,” the report reads.

The new Geran-2 drones are easier to assemble than Shahed-136 drones since they use more advanced components such as the Kometa satellite navigation module. Therefore, Russia will likely have more Geran drones to sustain its drone attacks against Ukraine, the report concludes.

The Kometa modules used in the two Geran-2 UAVs feature serial numbers that appear to follow the same pattern as modules that CAR has documented in other Russian weapon systems. These numbers indicate production in January and February 2023.

As was reported, Russia relied heavily on Iranian-supplied Shahed-136 drones since September 2022, when its missile stockpile shrank to a minimum. Russia used the Shahed-136 drones intensively. According to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Russia has already launched at least 1961 Shahed drones against Ukraine as of 2 August 2023. 

Ukrainian Air Force adapted to the new Russian tactic, using mobile fire units with machine guns to counter the massive attacks of relatively cheap drones.

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