Iran may reverse engineer weapons traded by Russia for drones

The munitions include a British NLAW anti-tank missile and a US Javelin anti-tank missile.

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Russia transferred western weapons and $140 million in cash for Iranian drones in August, in a transaction that would aid Tehran’s reverse engineering efforts aimed at developing similar weapons systems, Sky News reported.

The munitions include a British NLAW anti-tank missile, a US Javelin anti-tank missile, and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile. According to the report, satellite images showed two Russian military cargo planes, possibly Ilyushin IL-76s, at an airport in Tehran.

The weapons were initially intended for the Ukrainian military, but “fell into Russian hands,” the outlet wrote.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) will study the weapons, which will “probably be reverse-engineered and used in future wars,” a source told the news site.

Iranian attempts to reverse engineer is not a new phenomenon. The Iranian “Shahad 171” UAV was developed by reverse engineering the U.S.’ RQ-170 Sentinel surveillance drone, which was captured when fell on Iranian territory in December 2011.

“We think that the Iranians have proven that they have an efficient reverse-engineering system, as we can see with the UAVs they have reverse-engineered from the US’s UAV captured in 2011,” the outlet quoted the source as saying.

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The Iranian “Shahad-129” drone is also very similar to the Israeli Hermes-450. In addition, Iranian missiles are almost identical to Israeli “Spike” missiles and are suspected of being the result of reverse engineering unexploded Israeli projectiles in Syria.

Jerusalem last month began sharing intelligence with Kyiv about the Iranian-made drones deployed by Russia. Israeli President Isaac Herzog also presented the Biden administration with evidence that Iranian attack drones are being used by Russia against Ukrainian civilians.