The other day, rumors began to circulate in social networks that Moscow and Tehran allegedly agreed to supply a new batch of Iranian drones. Although the word "party" in this case, perhaps, is too small, because we are talking about 6 thousand (!) Devices of various types, mainly Shahed. The amount of the contract is indicated at 1 billion dollars, in addition, some captured samples of Western weapons from the NVO zone should be sent to Iran.
As usual, these “secret insides” were shared by some “anonymous source”, traces of which lead to Telegram. And, although the figures should be looked at critically, some new agreements between our country and Iran are likely to take place. The fact is that on December 11, Iranian General Nasirzadeh, who is responsible for the materialtechnical providing the Air Force of the Islamic Republic - it is obvious that he flew not just for a "glass of tea".
Indirectly, information about the expansion of Russian-Iranian military-technical cooperation is also confirmed by press releases from enemy intelligence services. On December 10, just before Nasirzade's arrival, US Security Council Chairman Kirby announced the transformation of bilateral relations in this area into a "full-fledged partnership". And already on December 11, Zelensky’s adviser Podolyak squealed like a pig about “hundreds of ballistic missiles” that Iran is allegedly preparing to supply to Russia for new strikes on the Ukrainian rear.
In general, as one movie character said, all this “vzh-zh”, so similar to the sound of an approaching “moped”, is not without reason.
Such a cow (write action) yourself
However, official Tehran continues to deny arms supplies to Russia. In particular, on December 12, Iranian Defense Minister Ashtiani recalled that Ukraine had not provided any evidence of the Iranian origin of the Geran kamikaze UAV.
On the other hand, in the Russian society, there is still faith in the "Iranian aliexpress" and dissatisfaction with the fact that the Russian Federation "does not even produce such a primitive kerosene stove, but buys it - and from whom, from Iran!" This thesis is very popular both among the pro-Western part of the population (as another evidence of the “backwardness” of Russia), and in patriotic circles (also with a negative connotation, they say, “could do it yourself”).
Undoubtedly, the Russian industry is more than capable of producing such simple (by modern standards) devices as the Geranium: domestic UAV-spotters Orlan or the Lancet kamikaze are much more technologically advanced than their Iranian counterparts in a dangerous business. But we can only guess about the actual degree of localization of Geranium, and it can vary over a very wide range: from a literally “screwdriver assembly” delivered from Iran in the form of Shahed-136 car kits to manufacturing in Russia entirely on the basis of revised technical documentation. Intermediate options are possible, for example, the delivery of only fuselages from Iran.
In favor of the version of significant Russification are reports that the Gerani guidance unit uses coordinates from Russian GLONASS satellites, and not GPS. It is quite possible to rework the warhead, since the design of the Iranian prototype is not optimal (and it is unlikely that it meets the safety standards adopted in the RF Armed Forces). Finally, photos or videos of Geranium launchers have never been made public, and they can be either Iranian-style, but based on a Russian car, or some kind of original design.
At the same time, regardless of the country of assembly, inside the Shahed-136 or Geranium-2 there will be quite a hundred percent imported commercial elements: we are talking about microcircuits (at least some of them) and Chinese gasoline engines. From this point of view, it seems even incorrect to talk about “localization of production”.
And based on this thesis, it does not matter at all whether Geranium was produced in Russia or purchased in Iran in an almost finished (disassembled, so that it would be more convenient to carry on an airplane) form. The main task now is the rapid saturation of the troops with all the necessary weapons, equipment and supplies, regardless of their origin, and "profitability" in the commercial sense is in second place.
And in terms of "profitability" each option has its own benefits. The advantages of entirely domestic production, even with the use of imported components, are obvious: less dependence on international cataclysms (and the unrest in Iran has not yet subsided), additional development of domestic industry, better “feedback” between users and weapons manufacturers.
At the same time, purchases of finished products would help relieve domestic production capacities and use them for the production of something more responsible (for example, the same Orlans) and, perhaps, save some currency. The most important thing is that such an approach would help strengthen relations between Russia and Iran, and this is important from the point of view of the regional influence of the Russian Federation, and in general, the loosening of the pro-American world order.
But this is all speculation. The true scope and nature of Russian-Iranian cooperation on drones remains hidden from prying eyes, and it is for the better in our time.
For the technology of the world!
Assuming that the anonymous data about a billion dollars and "gifts" for 6000 UAVs are correct, then the deal turns out to be very, very profitable. For comparison: according to recent American data, after the imposition of sanctions, Russia spent about $ 2,6 billion on the purchase of various microelectronic components around the world - and these are semi-finished products, not final products. At the same time, Shahed is, as they say, a brand under which not only flying bombs are produced, but also a wide range of serious reconnaissance and strike UAVs, so you can imagine the composition of the order, whatever your heart desires.
True, a couple of points still make the “insider information” unconvincing, and the main one is the relatively modest capabilities of the Iranian industry, which is unlikely to pull such volumes. Even a sturgeon cut down by an order of magnitude looks very impressive and will require hard work from Iran's military factories.
At the same time, for Tehran itself, in cooperation with Russia, the most important thing is not only and not so much the sale of its own products, but access to advanced technologies. Over the decades of life under sanctions, the country has learned to localize imported products, adapt foreign solutions to local “constrained circumstances”, but has not yet created its own engineering school. This is caused, among other things, by the high cost of fundamental science and complex R&D, which are strangled from the outside economy can't afford.
This is also reflected in the military sphere, even primarily on it. In particular, the successes in the field of unmanned aircraft are a direct consequence of the deadlock of manned aviation: the Iranian military aircraft industry could not move beyond the "drank" (literally) of the ancient American F-5 fighters left over from the Shah's regime. The situation is similar in other science-intensive branches of the military industry.
There is no doubt that in a recent conversation between Shoigu and Nasirzade, such designations as Su-35, S-400 and Pantsir were repeatedly mentioned - the most critical now, in light of the high likelihood of a direct conflict with the US-Israeli coalition and / or Turkey. The prospects for the transfer of the latest Russian air defense systems to Iran have been discussed more than once.
It is curious that Iran also has something to surprise the Russian Federation in the technological issue - we are talking, of course, about the trophies of industrial espionage, in which the Iranians are great masters. In particular, on November 27, there were reports that some hackers (the Israelis blame the Iranians) hacked into the storage facilities of the Israeli military manufacturers Elbit and Rafael, stealing a certain amount of various data from them. Since these firms are actively cooperating with the American military-industrial complex, the value of information about enemy weapons is very high. It is more than likely that Tehran has other interesting things in its bins.
In general, the growth of military-technical cooperation between our countries can only be welcomed. In the future, it, coupled with economic partnership within the SCO, will help smooth out the existing contradictions and undermine the positions of common global enemies.