Russian-made drones not meeting Ukraine battlefield requirements

Russia had been using Iranian drones in its war with Ukraine.

A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022. (photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
A drone is launched during a military exercise in an undisclosed location in Iran, in this handout image obtained on August 25, 2022.
(photo credit: IRANIAN ARMY/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY)/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Most of the drones being produced domestically in Russia are not meeting the tactical requirements of the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian state media outlet TASS reported on Tuesday evening. 

"The Defense Ministry has developed appropriate tactical and technical requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles – and most manufacturers, unfortunately, are not able to fulfill them," Col. Igor Ischuk said at a panel on unmanned vehicles. 

Another Defense Ministry source told TASS that simplified platforms had to be pursued.

The drones required by Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine are reconnaissance drones and loitering munitions, Ischuk said according to TASS. He also said that the military needed drones with anti-jamming technology, radiation warning systems and identification friend or foe (IFF) systems.

"The Defense Ministry has developed appropriate tactical and technical requirements for unmanned aerial vehicles. And most manufacturers, unfortunately, are not able to fulfill them."

Col. Igor Ischuk

Iranian drones confirmed

On Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brig.-Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed that Russia had begun to use Iranian drones in Ukraine. 

 A part of an unmanned aerial vehicle, what Ukrainian military authorities described as an Iranian made suicide drone Shahed-136 and which was shot down near the town of Kupiansk, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, is seen in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 13, 2022 (credit: THE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTORATE OF THE UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) A part of an unmanned aerial vehicle, what Ukrainian military authorities described as an Iranian made suicide drone Shahed-136 and which was shot down near the town of Kupiansk, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, is seen in Kharkiv region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 13, 2022 (credit: THE STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTORATE OF THE UKRAINIAN ARMED FORCES/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

"In terms of their effectiveness, I don't want to provide a battle damage assessment here from the podium or get into specific intelligence, other than to say again we've seen them employ them," he said. 

Ryder also noted that the Defense Department had seen credible reports of Ukrainians shooting down Iranian drones.

According to earlier reports, the Iranian drones used by Russia included those of the Shahed-136-style suicide UAVs.

Iran-Ukraine ties frayed 

The use of these Iranian platforms has resulted in the disruption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Ukraine.

Ukraine said on Friday that it would be withdrawing the accreditation of the Iranian ambassador and reducing staff at the embassy in Kyiv, citing "a collaboration with evil," but did not explicitly refer to the sale of drones.

Iran said that it was planning "proportional action" in response to Ukraine's decision.

Reuters and Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.