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Russia is capable of producing 400-500 Shahed attack drones per month

Friday, 23 February 2024, 11:35
Russia is capable of producing 400-500 Shahed attack drones per month
A piece of a Shahed drone. Photo: Ukrainska Pravda

Russia is capable of domestically producing 400-500 Shahed-type loitering munitions per month.

Source: Andrii Kulchytskyi, Head of the Department of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise, which studies missiles, artillery and drones of the Russian Federation, in an article by Ukrainska Pravda

Quote from Kulchytskyi: "We have the tail of one of the first Shahed drones of Series K, No. 026. And now we have another one numbered 2600 (shot down over Kyiv in mid-February – ed.). We think they are producing 400-500 of them a month."

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Details: Kulchytskyi said that from the first strikes of these drones in the Ukrainian south in the autumn of 2022 up to the present day, the Russians have gone through several logistical and technological phases.

Initially, the Shahed drones, which the Russians call Geran-2, were marked with the letter "M"; these early models were fully produced in Iran.

Later, a series of "black Shaheds" with the letter "Y" appeared – this series undergoing final assembly in Russia from knock-down kits supplied by Iran, with the navigation equipment changed at the assembly site.

Quote from Kulchytskyi: "There is a third series with the letter 'K', which they are launching at Ukraine now. We can call these Russian drones, being fully produced in Russia with domestically-sourced navigation computers and warheads."

Details: Kulchytskyi explained that early-series Shahed drones were equipped with shrapnel in the form of tungsten balls, which retain their shape and durability when subject to the high temperatures of an exploding bomb.

Thousands of the balls were strapped to the hull using wide bands of silicone tape. But later, the Russians abandoned this idea, relying on explosive force alone.

Background:

  • In early February, hackers from the Prana Network group hacked into the mail servers of the Iranian company IRGC Sahara Thunder, which contained an array of data on the production of Shahed-136 attack drones for Russia. 
  • In particular, the hackers revealed information about negotiations between the Iranian and Russian sides on the location of production in the Russian Alabuga special economic zone.
  • The hackers stated that the Iranian side listed the starting price of the Shahed as 23 million roubles per unit (about US$375,000). However, during negotiations, the Russians had haggled the price down to 12 million roubles (US$193,000) per unit when ordering 6,000 units or 18 million roubles (US$290,000) when ordering 2,000 units.

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