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CNN: Iran modifies its drones supplied to Russia to inflict maximum damage on Ukraine's energy infrastructure

by The Kyiv Independent news desk February 9, 2023 7:19 PM 2 min read
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Iran is modifying the attack drones it delivers to Russia so that the explosive warheads can cause maximum damage to infrastructure facilities in Ukraine, CNN reported on Feb. 9, citing a new investigative report by the U.K.-based organization Conflict Armament Research (CAR).

The investigative group examined the unexploded warhead of an Iranian Shahed-131 drone discovered in Odesa Oblast in October. According to the analysts, the warheads, less than two feet long, were "hastily modified with poorly fitted layers of dozens of small metal fragments" that scatter over a large radius on impact.

There were also 18 smaller "charges" around the warhead's perimeter, which, when melted by an explosive wave, are capable of piercing armor and creating a kind of "360-degree" explosive effect, reads the CAR's report.

The combination of these elements significantly increases the warhead's ability to destroy such targets as power plants, distribution networks, power lines, and large, powerful transformers, according to the report. They also greatly complicate repair work.

"There had been a lot of speculation that perhaps these explosives were very crude, cheap, and simple," Damien Spleeters, one of the investigators working on the report, told CNN. "But looking at the warhead, it is clear that a lot of thought has been put into making sure that it can inflict as much damage as possible to infrastructure in a large radius."

Russia has launched more than ten massive strikes against Ukraine's critical infrastructure, using dozens of missiles and Iranian-made drones at a time. These attacks killed dozens of civilians and severely damaged Ukraine's energy system, causing power, heating, and water cut-offs across the country and forcing the authorities to impose blackouts.

Ukrainian Main Military Intelligence Directorate said on Jan. 4 that Russian forces had used about 660 Iranian-made Shahed-131 and -136 drones in Ukraine since their first appearance in September of 2022.

Russia has become reliant on Iranian drones because they are a cheap alternative to precision missiles, the stock of which the Russian military has significantly depleted.

CNN: US investigates how its technology ended up in Iranian drones used by Russia to attack Ukraine
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