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WP: Russia aims for thousands of drones by 2025

Russia is working to increase its domestic production of Iranian Shahed-136 and Shahed-131 drones. This indicates Russia aims to carry out larger drone strikes in Ukraine over the long term.
Shahed drone
The remnants of the Iranian made Shahed-136 one-way attack drone at the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise. Photo: Wikipedia
WP: Russia aims for thousands of drones by 2025

Leaked documents state that a drone production facility in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone aims to build 6 000 Iranian Shahed drones domestically by 2025, Washington Post reports.

According to leaked documents from an Alabuga facility worker, Russia aims to develop a drone manufacturing capability that exceeds Iran’s production capacity. The report noted that Russia is focused on producing and improving the Shahed-136 variant, which has a payload ten times larger than the Shahed-131.

On 17 August, Ukrainian Air Force Spokesperson Yuri Ihnat stated while Russian forces are producing many missiles, helicopters, and aircraft but cannot sustain this production.

Ihnat recently assessed that Russian forces will rely on strike drones because they are cheaper and easier to manufacture than precision missiles.

The Washington Post report indicates that Russia is struggling to produce its variants of the Shahed drones at the pace and quality it desires. The researchers also said the project is already “at least a month behind schedule.”

The leaked document also indicates that the Alabuga facility struggles to obtain necessary drone components from foreign sources, as Russia only produces four of the 130 essential internal elements. Recent US blanket sanctions have further hindered Russia’s ability to acquire some electrical components.

The Washington Post’s leaked documents indicate that an estimated 25 percent of Iranian-provided drones arrive damaged, many even inoperable. Russia has continued to posture itself as supporting or partnering with Iran in other strategic initiatives, including promoting Iranian weapons at the ongoing Army-2023 development forum.

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