March 10, 2023

Russia Has Been Sending Some US-provided Weapons Captured in Ukraine to Iran, Sources Say

Source: CNN

Journalist: Natasha Bertrand

A key weapon in Iran's inventory, the Toophan anti-tank guided missile, was reverse engineered from the American BGM-71 TOW missile in the 1970s. The Iranians also intercepted a US-made drone in 2011, a Lockheed Martin RQ-170 "Sentinel", and reverse-engineered it to create a new drone that crossed into Israeli airspace in 2018 before being shot down.

"Iran has demonstrated the capability to reverse-engineer US weapons in the past," said Jonathan Lord, a senior fellow and director of the Middle East security program at the Center for a New American Security. "They reverse-engineered the TOW anti-tank guided missile, creating a near-perfect replica they called the Toophan, and have since proliferated it to the Houthis and Hezbollah. Iran could do the same with a Stinger, which could threaten both civil and military aviation throughout the region. A reverse-engineered Javelin could be used by Hamas or Hezbollah to threaten an Israeli Merkava tank. In the hands of Iran's proxies, these weapons pose a real threat to Israel's conventional military forces."

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Authors

  • Jonathan Lord

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Jonathan Lord is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security program at CNAS. Prior to joining CNAS, Lord served as a professional staff member for the House Arme...