No, Iran Will Not Deliver Armed Drones To Russia

Tuesday, 12 July, 2022 — Moon of Alabama

In March this year we were treated to an onslaught of obviously false claims that China would deliver weapons to Russia for the fight in Ukraine.

Russia seeks military equipment and aid from China, U.S. officials say – Washington Post – March 13, 2022

Russia has turned to China for military equipment and aid in the weeks since it began its invasion of Ukraine, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, did not describe what kind of weaponry had been requested, or whether they know how China responded.

The development comes as White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan plans to travel to Rome on Monday to meet with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.

“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions, evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” Sullivan told CNN.

Russia is an exporter of military weapons and China is one of its biggest customers. There is nothing in the Chinese arsenals that Russia can not and does not produce itself.

The claim was false from the get go but Sullivan, the mediocre National Security Advisor of the Biden regime, planted it to put pressure on China. It of course did not work.

China denied that it had received any request from Russia or that it was in any way willing to ever fulfill one if it would come:

No Chinese weapons have been seen in Ukraine.

Now an equally stupid claim was launched by the very same liar who launched the fake Chinese weapons claim.

White House: Iran set to deliver armed drones to Russia – AP – Jul 7, 2022

The White House on Monday said it believes Russia is turning to Iran to provide it with “hundreds” of unmanned aerial vehicles, including weapons-capable drones, for use in its ongoing war in Ukraine.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said it was unclear whether Iran had already provided any of the unmanned systems to Russia, but said the U.S. has “information” that indicates Iran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them as soon as this month.

“Our information indicates that the Iranian government is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline,” he told reporters Monday.

Russia has for some time build mass production facilities for its own drones.

A decade ago, the Russian Armed Forces possessed fewer than 200 UAVs, and now this figure stands at over 2000, and each year is replenished by 300. Furthermore, the Russian defence industry is conducting R&D on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in UAVs, with the ambition of enabling them to perform as unified “swarms of drones” in combat zones. Sources claim that this was already tested in 2020, during the Kavkaz-2020 military exercise.

Russia has absolutely no need to buy drones from Iran. Besides that it is dubious that Iran would be able to deliver some and certainly not ‘several hundreds’.

Gregg Carlstrom – @glcarlstrom – 6:18 UTC · Jul 12, 2022

Does Iran even have “hundreds of weapons-capable drones” to export? It has limited production capacity; would be surprising (to say the least) if it could churn out hundreds, let alone hundreds of useful weapons systems rather than worthless tchotchkes.

Esfandyar Batmanghelidj @yarbatman – 23:14 UTC · Jul 11, 2022

1. @jakejsullivan’s claim that Iran is set to send “several hundred” drones to Russia doesn’t make sense. Data is spotty, but it’s unlikely Iran even has that many operational drones in its own fleet. It also has no experience exporting drones at scale.
2. The Defense Intelligence Agency’s 2019 report on Iranian Military Power does not assess that Iran has the ability to mass produce and export drones. Hard to believe things have changed dramatically in three years.
3. From the report: “Despite advances in its UAV manufacturing capabilities, Iran remains reliant on Western manufactured engines and components to support its UAV production. Iran is developing a domestic UAV engine but is struggling with quality issues.”
4. @RUSI_org’s database seems to suggest that Iran has 50 operational drones in its fleet (cc @Justin_Br0nk). Also most of Iran’s drones are rudimentary. These are not Bayraktars and would be of little value.
Perhaps someone can check the Jane’s estimate.
5. Last year, @bellingcat reviewed satellite images and video footage “showing over 154 drones.” But there’s widespread agreement among analysts that these displays of air power probably include drones that are not fully armed or operational.
6. Sullivan’s statement is also odd because he says that it is “unclear” whether Iran has already exported any drones. He was weirdly responding to a broader question about Russian capabilities. This export might happen, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
7. The only explanation I can think of is that Sullivan believes Iran’s new drone JV in Tajikistan is primarily intended to supply Russia. But I am doubtful production can ramp up that quickly. Plus can’t the US just lean on Dushanbe if concerned?

The Washington Post notes the weird timing of Sullivan’s claims thereby hinting that it was made for purely political purposes which have nothing to do with Russia:

The revelation comes as President Biden prepares to depart for the Middle East, where he is expected to confer with key allies on a unified regional policy toward Iran. Tensions between Washington and Tehran have been further strained in recent weeks, amid faltering nuclear talks and an uptick in rocket and drone attacks on U.S. military installations in the Middle East, conducted by militia groups armed and funded by Iran.

The whole issues is just a talking point designed to put Iran and Russia into the same ‘baddies’ binder for Biden’s talks in the Middle East. The countries there may not like Iran but they will certainly not allow for a condemnation of Russia. The whole idea is, as many others Sullivan had, stupid to begin with.

So no, there will not be any Iranian drones going to Russia or fly over Ukraine.

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