Russia advances in constructing its own factory for producing Shahed drones
According to Reuters, there's progress in building a facility for manufacturing improved Iranian kamikaze drones in Tatarstan
Satellite images obtained by Reuters from the Institute of Science and International Security reveal advancements in the construction of a plant set to mass-produce these drones.
“Despite the headway, neither the United States nor its allies have imposed sanctions on the plant's owner, JSC Alabuga, or its associated companies, said the Institute for Science and International Security report,” the article reads.
The document highlights that a mid-September satellite image confirms the plant's construction aligns with the building plan obtained by the Washington Post in early 2023.
Additional records indicate the facility's purpose is to mass-produce Shahed-136 drones. Russia aims to enhance manufacturing processes for Iranian UAVs and expand their capabilities.
The satellite image reveals the building of additional structures and new security zones with roadblocks.
"With winter fast approaching, Russia can be expected to accelerate its Shahed-136 attacks against Ukraine's vital energy infrastructure, causing brutal living conditions for the civilian population. A key overdue step is for Washington to sanction Alabuga and its associated companies," stressed the report.
Situated 800 km from Moscow in Tatarstan, the plant is 66% owned by the federal government and 34% by the republic.
What we know about the drone factory in Russia
In November 2022, reports emerged that Russia had agreed with Iran to jointly manufacture drones for the conflict in Ukraine. Russian leader Vladimir Putin directed the establishment of a training system for experts in drone development and production.
By February 2023, Western media verified secret talks between Tehran and Moscow regarding a factory for making kamikaze drones. Iran denied these claims.
On August 16, British intelligence suggested that Russia might be using its own manufactured drones.
Citing internal documents exchanged between Iran and Russia, The Washington Post revealed plans for the Shahed production plant in the Alabuga Special Economic Zone to produce 6,000 kamikaze drones by 2025.