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ISW: Iran supplies Russia with glide bombs

Glide bombs can fly at low altitudes and avoid detection by radars.
Guided aviation bombs, illustrative photo.

Iran is expanding its military ties with Russia by providing it with glide bombs, a weapon that can deliver precision strikes at long distances, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) reported.

Iran may also be preparing to transfer short-range ballistic missiles to Russia, the ISW reported, citing US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby.

According to the ISW, the Russian Air Force is increasingly using glide bombs, particularly modified FAB-500, KAB-500, and RPK-500 aerial bombs equipped with glide bomb structures, in the Lyman-Kupiansk sector of the eastern front (Kharkiv and Luhansk Oblasts), and the Kherson-Zaporizhzhia axis of the southern front (Zaporizhzhia and Kherson Oblasts in southern Ukraine).

However, it is unclear whether John Kirby meant that Iran supplied Russia with glide bomb components or with entirely constructed glide bombs, the ISW noted.

“Iran produces a variety of glide bombs, such as the Ghaem glide bombs, Yasin long-range glide bombs, Sadid glide bombs, and Balaban glide bombs. Iran commonly uses these bombs with its various drone platforms, likely including the Shahed-131/136 drones that Iran supplies to Russia,” the ISW reported.

According to the ISW, some Russian military bloggers previously amplified claims that Russian Su-25 aircraft may be compatible with Iranian glide bombs. Furthermore, Iran presented several glide bomb variants at the Russian Army-2023 Forum in Moscow in August 2023 and possibly during Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to the Iranian capital, Tehran, in September 2023, the ISW noted in its report.

According to the ISW, Iran and Russia may conclude a drone and missile sale agreement following the expiration of UN missile restrictions against Iranian missile and missile-related technology exports on 18 October 2023.

Ex-Minister Zagorodnyuk: Ukraine can defeat Russia, but West must commit to total victory

Besides glide bombs, Iran continues to provide Russia with reconnaissance, armed and kamikaze drones, and artillery ammunition, the ISW reported. According to the Deputy Chief of Ukraine’s Main Military Intelligence Directorate (HUR), Major General Vadym Skybitskyi, Iran may continue to deliver small batches of Shahed-131/136 kamikaze drones to Russia despite increased Russian efforts to produce Shahed drones domestically.

While Russia is boosting its military cooperation with Iran, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin reiterates “boilerplate rhetoric that falsely portrays Russia as willing to engage in meaningful negotiations,” which is likely to put pressure on the West to push Ukraine into talks with Russia prematurely, according to the ISW.

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