July 17, 2022

As Russia Runs Low on Drones, Iran Plans to Step In, U.S. Officials Say

Source: The New York Times

Journalists: Eric Schmitt, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, John Ismay

Iran has supplied drone technology to Hezbollah in Lebanon; to Houthi rebels in Yemen attacking Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; and to Shiite militias in Iraq, which have carried out strikes against Iraqi and American troops.

“Russia is turning to an ally that has flown drones in complex environments in large numbers,” said Samuel Bendett, a specialist on Russian drones and other weapons at CNA, a research and analysis organization in Arlington, Va. “While the Russians still have drones, they don’t have all the types they need.”


Russian drones — primarily the Orlan-10, a small fixed-wing aircraft, along with small, commercially available quadcopters — have drastically changed how Ukrainian forces move around the battlefield. They park their vehicles under trees or other cover and must conceal artillery pieces to avoid being detected by overhead surveillance.

But even with proper camouflage, pro-Russian media channels frequently post videos of Ukrainian equipment being targeted and destroyed as a drone loiters above.

In recent weeks, however, Mr. Bendett and military analysts said, Russia’s edge in the drone wars has diminished. About 50 Orlan-10s have been brought down by Ukrainian or accidental Russian fire or jamming, analysts said.

Read the full story and more from The New York Times.


  • Samuel Bendett

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves research on the ...