Iranian delta wing drones are being used extensively by Russia in Ukraine .
Iran has significantly deepened its involvement in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by providing technical support for Russian pilots flying Iranian-made drones to bomb civilian targets, the White House has confirmed.
The national security council lead spokesperson, John Kirby, said yesterday that it was the US’s understanding that Iranian advisers were in Crimea to provide training and maintenance – but not to actually pilot the drones – after Russian forces experienced difficulties in operating the unmanned flying bombs.
“The information we have is that the Iranians have put trainers and tech support in Crimea, but it’s the Russians who are doing the piloting,” Kirby said.
“Tehran is now directly engaged on the ground and through the provision of weapons … that are killing civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure. These are systems that the Russian armed forces are not familiar using and these are organically manufactured Iranian UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles].
“There were operator and system failures early on. Either they weren’t being piloted appropriately and properly and were failing to reach targets or the systems themselves were suffering failures and not performing to the standards that apparently the customers expected. So the Iranians decided to move in some trainers and technical support to help the Russians use them with better lethality.”
Both the UK and the EU have announced sanctions on Iran for its provision of Shahed-136 drones, delta wing unmanned aircraft designed to fly into targets and explode on impact, which Russian forces have used widely against Ukrainian cities.
Moscow has denied using Iranian drones, but Tehran officials confirmed it and said they will also supply ballistic missiles to help replenish Russia’s dwindling armoury.