Iranian drones in the Russian invasion: analysis by Molfar experts

According to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Russia ordered 2,400 "Shaheds" from Iran, but he did not specify which types and in what timing they would be delivered.

We made an alternative estimate of the number of drones that the Russian Federation currently has at its disposal. The assessment was made based on hypotheses about the planning and sequence of supplies of Iranian barrage munitions to the Russian Federation, made in accordance with the statements of Ukrainian high-ranking officials, who receive information directly from the GUR of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. In particular, based on the statements of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksiy Reznikov.

👉 You can learn more about the hypotheses and calculation procedure by viewing the full version of the research

As of 10:00, 17.10 from open sources it is known about: 161 eliminated Shahed-136, the estimated total price of which was from $3.22m to $8.05m, 1 Shahed-129 – the estimated price of which is $7.5m, and 4 Mohajer-6. The total known costs of the UAV ranged from $11.66m – $17.9m. The total known costs of the elimination of Shahed-136 by Ukraine is up to $28.14m and exceeded the costs of their launch by 97-99%, based on the price of 17 downed UAVs of $0.34-0.85m.

Since data is published only on the downed UAVs and the number of civilian objects affected, the number of launched Shahed-136s is approximate.
HESA Shahed-136 / Geran-2 / – loitering ammunition Iranian-made, according to the media, the cost of which is ~$20k - $50k.

After considering the downing of Shahed-136 and the prices of air defense equipment known from open sources, it was concluded that in general, Ukraine spent more than $28.14m on air defense missiles and air-to-air missiles to shoot down Shahed-136.

Also, according to the available data, we analyzed the approximate time when the kamikaze drones launched over the territory of Ukraine were shot down. According to our data, most of the drones are launched in the daylight before 12 o'clock in the morning, respectively, after some time they are either shot down or they reach their goal. Fewer drones are launched at night, probably due to the peculiarities of their launch and calibration.

We have established exactly what use our defenders to shoot down Iranian drones. It is possible to shoot down an Iranian drone both with small arms and with the help of special air-to-air missiles. The difference is only in the effectiveness and cost of the weapon. Of course, the military is trying to shoot down all identified targets, despite the cost of the means involved. However, this is not always possible due to the peculiarities of Iranian drones: they fly low and slowly, so air defense systems "do not see" them.

And finally, we investigated how successfully the Armed Forces shoot down Iranian drones. Very successful! In almost all cases, the damage rates exceed 50% – this is an excellent result. The average hit rate is almost 80%! 

A good job of air defense is considered to destroy 30% of targets, so Ukrainian soldiers demonstrate really exceptional results. However, it is impossible to guarantee 100% efficiency: for this, first of all, there is a banal lack of air defense systems, which are very necessary to protect the sky over Ukraine. 

Unfortunately, the Russian Federation can use cheap Iranian drones for daily shelling of Ukraine – the price of the issue for Russia is insignificant. Similarly, drones can be used in tandem with missiles: to first diffuse air defense systems with a drone attack, and then hit with missiles – this is a common practice for Russian terrorists.  

The Molfar team calls on Western partners of Ukraine to pay attention to the cheap but deadly drones that the Russian Federation uses to attack our cities. To defend against these drones, we need the latest air defense systems and other systems to combat air targets

👉 You can get additional information on the search for Iranian drones at this link.

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