If there’s one lesson we can take from the battle in Ukraine, it’s that drones play a vital role in modern warfare. Russia is struggling because its drone fleet has taken heavy losses. Now, it’s trying to get hundreds more from Iran — and that could lead to a dangerous alliance.
Last Monday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told journalists that Russia wants to buy military drones from Iran, including models that can carry weapons. Sullivan said Iran is preparing to supply up to 300 airframes, and could start training Putin’s troops how to use them later this month. Russian officers have already visited Iran to inspect its drones at least twice.
Russia has used much of its stockpiles of advanced weapons; and western sanctions on technology and components mean it’s struggling to make more. Now the country seems to be trying to find a way around the problem. Iran is also under western sanctions, but they’re not as strict as the ones imposed on Russia.
The two countries have had a loose alliance for years; Russia supplied most of Iran’s air defense systems, and they’ve carried out joint military exercises together with China. A closer alliance, based on Russian manufacturing capability and Iranian access to western technology, could make both nations much more dangerous to their neighbors — especially if Russia were to help Iran build nuclear weapons.