Iran is modifying its kamikaze drones, which it provides to Russia, so that their warheads can inflict maximum damage on infrastructure targets in Ukraine.
This was reported by CNN with reference to the investigation data.
The unexploded warhead of the Iranian Shahed-131 drone, found in southern Ukraine in the Odesa region in October 2022, was examined last month by the British organization Conflict Armament Research (CAR) together with the Ukrainian military. CAR provided its findings to CNN.
Analysts believe that the warheads were hastily modified with ill-fitting layers of dozens of small metal fragments that scatter over a large radius upon impact. In addition to the fragments, there are 18 smaller "charges" around the warhead, which, when melted by the blast wave, can penetrate armor and create a "360-degree explosion" effect.
The accumulation of these elements maximizes the warheadʼs ability to destroy targets such as power plants, distribution networks, power lines, and large, high-powered transformers. They also make repairs much more difficult.
One of the researchers Damien Splitters told CNN that studying the Shahed-131 warhead, whose components have never been made public before, helped analysts better understand how Iran built its drones.
“There was a lot of speculation that maybe this explosive was very crude, cheap and simple. But looking at the warhead, itʼs clear the manufacturer has put a lot of thought into making sure it can do as much infrastructure damage as possible over a large radius," Splitters noted.
- From October 10 to the end of January, the Russian army fired about 700 cruise missiles and Shahed-136 kamikaze drones into the Ukrainian energy system. In total, 98 energy workers were killed during the attacks in 2022, and twice as many were injured.
- Since September, when the Russian occupiers began using Iranian kamikaze drones, the Ukrainian Air Defense has already destroyed almost 500 such drones.
- In February, it became known that Russia and Iran are increasing cooperation for the construction of a factory for the production of Shahed drones on the territory of the Russian Federation. It is planned to produce at least 6 000 drones for the war in Ukraine.