US intelligence reveals Russia building advanced drone manufacturing facility with Iran’s assistance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Recent intelligence reports from the US Central Intelligence Agency have unveiled Russia’s ambitious plans to increase its drone-making capacity. A new facility aims to produce larger-sized drones that exceed those available through purchases from Iran, thus expanding Russia’s drone capabilities.

According to US intelligence assessments, the new drone facility is expected to be fully operational by early next year. The development has raised concerns about its potential impact on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, as the new drones could potentially escalate the situation.

In April, the US publicly disclosed satellite images of the drone manufacturing site, located in the Russian Special Economic Zone, Alabuga, east of Moscow. Analysts have reported that Iran is actively assisting Russia in building the facility by regularly transferring equipment. Additionally, Iran has previously supplied Russia with over 400 drones, including models like the Shahid 131, Shahid 136, and Muhajir.

In light of related developments, a senior intelligence official highlighted Russia’s use of drones in its invasion of Ukraine to target essential infrastructure and weaken air defenses. The utilization of drones in this manner has extended Russian military capacity, which has been significantly reduced as the further fueled tensions in the region.

The intelligence reports also revealed an interesting dynamic where Iran benefits from supporting Russia’s drone manufacturing endeavors. By providing military equipment to Russia, Iran gains leverage to offer its weapons to international buyers. In return, Iran receives financial support and assistance for its space and missile programs from Russia.