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More than 30 Western companies’ components found in Iranian UAVs Shahed-136

Such information reports the investigators from the Trap Aggressor project, which studied the components of the Iranian UAV Shahed-136 in partnership with the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (NAKO). 

The Ukrainian military shot down this kamikaze drone on October 13, 2022, above the sea near Odesa. As a result of its falling, the warhead was lost. The rest of the details, however, did not. 

Photo by Trap Aggressor

Since the beginning of September, Russians have been attacking Ukrainian civilians with Iranian drones, which due to the specific sound, were named “mopeds”.

Shahed-136 are developed by HESA – the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company. The UAV weighs approximately 200 kilograms, 40 of which are the warhead. The explosive charge and optics for accurate attack are placed in the front of the UAV. Kamikazes are truck-launched with salvo fire that can fly over 185 kilometres per hour. The Russian military renamed the plane Geran-2 to disguise the Iranian origin of the weapon.

Photo by Trap Aggressor

Ukrainian intelligence disassembled Shahed-136 and found that almost every component, like other Iranian drones, is of American or European origin. 

The only native detail – is a power plant or engine.

Photo by Trap Aggressor

The manufacturing company is the Iranian Oje Parvaz Mado Nafar Company (MADO). It specialises in the manufacture of components for drones and the import and export of commercial goods. According to the US Treasury Department, MADO procured UAV engines for organisations affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. On October 29, 2021, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the company and its directors for purchasing engines and parts for Iran’s military industry, freezing its assets under US jurisdiction. The same sanctions apply to foreign parties who facilitate the organisation’s transactions or otherwise help it.

The stuffing of the Shaheds, except for the Iranian-made engine, consists entirely of foreign components. Ukrainian intelligence managed to identify more than 30 European and American companies. Most of the details are from the USA. Servo drive from the American Hitec USA Group, power elements from the Japanese Panasonic, and ceramic antenna from the Canadian Tallisman. The control board is assembled from Japanese and American parts. Power supply board from German and Chinese elements. The control unit of the Russian plant “Zapadpribor”.

Photo by Trap Aggressor

Boards, digital signal processors, transceivers, drivers and receivers manufactured by the infamous Texas Instruments company, which continued to work in Russia after the annexation of Crimea and aggression on Donbas in 2014. Last month, TragAgressor’s story on the Russian Iskander also revealed details of their production, after which Texas Instruments finally managed to answer whether they continue to trade with the Russian Federation. The company replied they do not supply anything directly to the Russian market.

Texas Instruments even promised to remove all references to Russia from its website (the address of the Moscow branch and the phone number). But they did not clean everything. Instead, they added – “If you need to contact us in a country not listed above, please contact our customer support centre.” Just like that – call us, don’t be shy.

HUR MO also identified Ukrainian details – an electrical relay manufactured by State Enterprise “Radiorele” in Kharkiv.  

Photo by Trap Aggressor

Currently, the “Radiorele” enterprise is subordinate to the State Property Fund of Ukraine. In 2020, the enterprise was put up for privatisation due to inefficient management. However, until now, an investor has not been found. And the director Anatoliy Donets, unchanged since 2007, continues to manage the unprofitable asset. At the same time, in 2020, in an interview with local journalists, Donets complained that back in 2016, they lost their largest sales market – Russia. Thus, he actually confirmed that, until that time, the Ukrainian state company was conducting trade with the aggressor country. And in this way, probably, Ukrainian parts ended up in Iranian weapons, which are now destroying our cities and killing civilians.

Experts from the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission have sent over 35 letters to all companies whose details were found in Iranian UAVs. And to date, only three responses have been received.

“Their responses continue a classic tradition of Ukrainian bureaucratic responses – yes, we know about the story, we are actively following it, but we cannot give you any specific response,” – said Viktoriia Vyshnivska, NAKO’s Advocacy and Communications Manager. 

Mass attacks on the civilian population, the “Black Mondays”, and the use of Iranian drones on critical infrastructure in Ukraine rather indicate Putin’s inability to win any so-called victories on the front. Ukrainian soldiers give a worthy rebuff to the enemy. Our task, together with the world community, is to help them with this.

More on Shahed-136 in Trag Agressor’s investigation. 

Investigated in cooperation with the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (NAKO), This activity are supported by UK’s Special Defence Advisory Team.