In early July 2023, the Russian Army began deploying Iranian-designed Geran-2 loitering munitions with different characteristics to models of this UAS documented in Ukraine in the past year. Although the manner of use, shape, size, and general design of the UAS remained similar externally, there are discernible differences in the components of the UAS, in terms of the material it is made of, the electronic systems, the serial number marking and the type of warhead. These changes indicate Russia has begun to produce the loitering munitions itself, based on Iranian technology. This is not an unexpected development; since Iran first started providing Russia with military aid, in the second half of 2022, concurrent with the transfer of Iranian loitering munitions for the use of the Russian Army, Iran has also provided Russia with the means and know-how to establish its own production line for these weapons. The production of UAS by Russia, tailored for specific combat needs, using available means, will allow the Russian Army to increase its arsenal of loitering munitions of this model, and to operate more efficiently, in a manner that may even enable it to bypass Ukraine’s air defense systems.
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