Tehran is "close" to providing Moscow with ballistic missiles
Iran appears close to providing Moscow with surface-to-surface missiles and new Shahed drones
Sky News reported the information, citing an informed security source.
Russia is employing a combination of drone and missile strikes in a series of intensified assaults on Ukraine's air defenses, targeting both civilian and military sites with the support of Iranian ballistic missiles. The potential collaboration gains significance as Iran is poised to supply Russia with precision surface-to-surface missiles, surpassing the threat posed by drones. Recent information suggests a weapons deal between Iran and Russia, anticipating the delivery of ballistic missiles with a range exceeding 300km.
"From reliable information it seems that Iran and Russia have renewed the weapons deal and Russia is expecting to receive, sometime soon, precision surface-to-surface missile systems," the security source told Sky News.
A US official, quoted earlier this month, affirmed Iran's readiness to provide short-range ballistic missiles to Russia. Despite initially withholding its stockpile of precision-guided missiles during Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Iran's stance appears to be shifting following the expiration of UN Security Council sanctions in October. This policy shift aligns with the diversion of global attention to conflicts in the Middle East, allowing Russia to intensify its ground offensive in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian source notes that the transfer of Iranian missiles could enable Russia to replicate a previous winter campaign targeting Ukraine's energy infrastructure, leading to widespread blackouts. Potential missile systems, such as Tehran's Ababil or Fateh collection, pose a significant threat due to their accuracy and longer ranges between 300km to 700km.
The increased reliance on ballistic missiles presents a challenge for Ukrainian air defenses, especially the finite supply of US-provided Patriot missiles with limited range capabilities. Ballistic missiles, being harder to intercept, could compel Ukraine to deplete its Patriot missile reserves, leaving vulnerable spots in the country exposed to destruction, particularly in civilian infrastructure. In return for this collaboration, Iran is likely seeking financial benefits and access to Russian military technology.
Iran’s new attack drone for Russia's war against Ukraine
According to the source speaking to Sky News, there are indications that "a few units" of the specially-designed Shahed-107 drone may have been offered to Russia in a deal valued at over $2 million. This drone, part of the Shahed-101 family, features a distinctive V-shaped tail.
Measuring approximately 2.5 meters in length and boasting a wingspan of three meters, the Shahed-107 UAV is deployable from a vehicle and is believed to have an operational range of up to 1,500 km. The drone is equipped with a livestreaming transmitter, facilitating real-time video transmission. Its reconnaissance capabilities make it adept at identifying targets along Ukraine's frontline, serving as a tool for coordinating strikes with other UAVs or weapons systems.
The source further disclosed that Iranian security forces, in collaboration with Russian counterparts, conducted a trial at an airbase in central Iran, featuring both the Shahed-107 and the Shahed-136 drones.