Iranian drones are made with NATO parts

“The Iranian drones that Russia has used to attack military targets and civilians in Ukraine are built with parts almost exclusively made by companies with headquarters in the United States, Europe and Asia, according to a report issued Tuesday by a weapons research group.

Most of the parts that the researchers examined, including semiconductors and other advanced electronic components, had markings indicating they were manufactured in recent years while Iran has been under sanctions meant to deprive it of such matériel, the report said. One drone-fired guided missile appeared to have been made as recently as May.

How the parts ended up in Iran is unclear. The markings on components usually identify the company that sold the part but not necessarily the year or the location of manufacture.

Iran has denied supplying Russia with military equipment since the latter invaded Ukraine in February, but the group’s findings undercut that assertion.

The report was published by Conflict Armament Research, an independent group based in Britain that identifies and tracks weapons and ammunition used in wars. A small team of its investigators visited Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, in early November at the invitation of the Ukrainian security service.

Russia and Ukraine have used many types of drones in the war, including models produced by the United States, China and Turkey. Some are surveillance drones, but larger models can carry missiles and grenades to attack targets on the ground.

The Conflict Armament Research team analyzed the remains of three models of advanced Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles — the Shahed-131 and the Shahed-136, which are designed to crash into their target and explode on impact, and the Mohajer-6, an armed surveillance drone.”

Comments: Companies want to make money and their only religion is generally the “balance sheet.” In the Iran-Iraq War the USG put together an interagency panel that policed this. I was the DoD member. As a result of our efforts both sides were armed almost altogether by the Warsaw Pact and China. The exceptions were three squadrons of maritime attack aircraft provided by France and less than thirty heavy equipment transporters (HETS) sold by Oshkosh (USA). The Iraqis Had no lethal equipment from the US unless you want to count the collective brains of my small advisory team. pl

Iranian Weapons Built With Western Semiconductors Despite Sanctions – The New York Times (

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3 Responses to Iranian drones are made with NATO parts

  1. JamesT says:

    It sounds like they are talking about “commercial off the shelf” chips like Arm microprocessors. Two hundred billion Arm chips shipped in 2020. When the tech in your drone is the same tech that powers your microwave oven, its pretty hard to keep it from proliferating.

  2. A, Pols says:

    Technology is fungible, always has been and always will be. Oppenheimer got “cancelled”largely because he was insolent enough to point this out and Teller led the charge to get him shunted aside. “Theft of intellectual property” is largely how science and technology has advanced. Why anyone is surprised about “western” components in Iranian drones, is amazing when you think of it.

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