Lethal attack on an oil tanker by a UAV loaded with explosives. UAVs launched from the Gaza Strip and hit Israeli neighborhoods. Attacks on distilleries and oil pipelines in Saudi Arabia and on US military bases in Iraq.
The blame for this wave of attacks is being placed on senior Iranian, European and Israeli defense officials by Iran and its allies in the Middle East.
The drones themselves are often manufactured so that more and more dedicated cargo can be assembled on them in the rapidly growing commercial drone market, as well as by people whose hobby it is, say senior security officials. Some of the tools mimic the design of Israeli and American drones.
“Developing nuclear weapons could take years. For UAVs, it can be done in a matter of months,” a senior Iranian official told the Wall Street Journal. “UAVs have changed the balance of power in the Middle East.”
The Iranian delegation to the UN in New York did not respond to a request for comment regarding the allegations that the country is responsible for the series of attacks.
For several decades, armed UAVs were used almost exclusively by advanced armies such as the armies of the United States and Israel. More recently, Turkey, which is a member of NATO, has made great strides in developing cheap and efficient drones.
Iran and its allies are increasing the rate of attacks
Engineers in Tehran rely on imported components to build aircraft that can hit targets accurately over long distances and then quickly change direction to evade aerial defenses and radar detection, say senior European and Middle Eastern security officials who have examined the remains of crashed UAVs.
These officials also say that Iran and its allies are increasing the rate of attacks. On September 13, forces loyal to Iran in Yemen attacked the city of Jazan in southern Saudi Arabia with the help of UAVs and missiles. Name.
Iran’s drone program begins with Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries, a military.owned company that owns a plant in Isfahan in central Iran, according to Iranian corporate documents, the FARS conservative and official news agency and senior members of the European defense establishment.
The plant was initially set up in the 1970s by the American defense contractor Textron to manufacture military helicopters at a time when the king who ruled Iran, Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, was a close ally of Washington in the region.
The company controls a small, unrecognized company called Company for Designing and Manufacturing Light Aircraft, which develops high.tech drones, as can be learned from corporate documents in Iran. , The company documents show.
The company is headed by General Hogatula Korshi, according to the minutes of a board discussion observed by the Wall Street Journal. He is also responsible for military research in Iran.
The Iranian Ministry of Defense did not respond to questions addressed to General Qurshi.
Another board member is Hamidraza Sharifi Tehrani, an engineer who routinely goes to seminars on civilian drones in countries like Italy and Australia, according to corporation documents and a website of the Young Scientists Organization in Iran.
“Sanctions may be incapable of influencing Iran’s plan”
After an UAV loaded with explosives collided with an Israeli.owned Mercer Street tanker in the Arabian Sea in July, Israeli leaders named Saeed Ara Jani, an unidentified figure accused of planning the attack.
“When we identify someone publicly, the goal is to send a message to his employers that we know exactly what they are doing and we intend to prevent that,” said one senior Israeli official.
The senior official said that the United States and other Western countries had not properly assessed the risks posed by Iran’s drone program and called on them to take more firm action. “It is quite possible that they are becoming bolder, braver and less deterred,” the senior said.
The U.S. is preparing to expand sanctions against Iran’s drone program, the Wall Street Journal previously reported.
But “sanctions may be incapable of influencing Iran’s plan,” said Kirsten Fontaineros, a former member of the U.S. National Security Council that specializes in the Persian Gulf.
This is because unlike the heavy industry needed to make nuclear weapons, UAVs often rely on commercial components that can be purchased even online to build devices that look innocent on the outside and are controlled by radio transmission, she said. The actual blocking of such sales is not a matter of what in so doing.
From Sweden to South Korea: This is how Iran obtains components for UAVs
A secret report prepared for the British government by C4ADS, a research institute from Washington, revealed that Iran had succeeded in arming its Houthi allies in Yemen by using a network of commercial companies around the world to purchase components, including some components that managed to evade some sort of sanctions.
“Gaps in control over and enforcement of the international export regime allow Iran to purchase the items and have allowed Houthi – related chains to purchase critical components without passing through Iran,” the report said in a statement.
UAVs in Iranian design in Iraq, Yemen and Gaza use the same type of engine, DLE.111, manufactured by a Chinese company called Mile Hao Xiang Technologies that specializes in small aircraft, experts say, including UN experts who tested the engines.
The Chinese company told the UN that the components used in Iranian drones are counterfeit. The company did not respond to requests for comment from the newspaper.
In recent years, Mile Hao Xiang Technology, whose DLE.111 engine was sold on Chinese e.commerce site Alibaba for $ 500, has also exported the engines to U.S. manufacturers of radio.controlled miniature aircraft, customs data show.
“This technology is designed for American teens who can play with their toys,” said a retired senior Western defense official who researched Iran’s drone program.
A sophisticated South Korean.made component found on UAVs used in coalition attacks in Yemen is in a toy store in Tehran that sells models of remotely controlled aircraft, including exact replicas of American fighter jets, according to a UN investigation.
The component, known as the refused engine, integrates with the UAV engine using a sensor thus enabling precise control of the position and speed of the UAV.
Iran has also found other ways to achieve advanced technology. A UN investigation into UAVs with Delta wings, triangular wings, has revealed that a key UAV component is manufactured in Sweden.
The component was shipped to Iran through a food trading company from India before being assembled on UAVs used for attacks against oil facilities in Saudi Arabia in May and September 2019, when the UAVs were seized. The U.S. says this type of UAV was also used in an attack on Mercer Street.
Iran used replicas of the most sensitive technology components developed by the United States and Israel. The UAVs that attacked Saudi oil facilities used an engine that is a replica of a British engine manufactured in Britain for Elbit. The technology of the engine was developed in the UK, not in Israel, said a person familiar with Elbit’s operations.
A copy of the same engine was available for sale on the website of a Chinese company, suggesting that perhaps China was involved in the reverse engineering of the component, said a person familiar with the UN investigation.
One Iranian UAV used in the Saudi civil war is largely based on Rafael Hermes’ 450 UAV. Israeli officials suspect that Iran received a model of the Hermes from a Lebanese organization close to Hezbollah, after such an IDF UAV crashed in Lebanon .