The Kremlin is betting on Shahed

The top military-political leadership of the Russian Federation demonstrates signs of work on improving the process of providing its armed forces with technological weapons, while making efforts to overcome the crisis of its own military-industrial complex.
This trend poses a direct threat to Ukraine’s national interests and security in the strategic perspective, since, despite public information about corruption and incompetence of those responsible for the Russian military-industrial complex, the Kremlin is gradually adapting the economy to wartime needs.
In this context, the key case is the Russian Iranian project to deploy the production of kamikaze drones “Shahed” (Russian: Public name – Geranium-2) on the territory of the city of Yelabuga, Yelabuga district in the Republic of Tatarstan of the Russian Federation. This settlement is the conditional headquarters of the “free economic zone “Elabuga”, which until 2023 was used exclusively for industrial and economic projects of a civil nature. However, now, this project is turning into a key center of the Russian military-industrial complex.
Currently, the expert community estimates the project of Russian-Iranian production “Shahed” at 115-130 billion rubles, production capacity at 40 thousand square meters, and the current format of its implementation is positioned as the supply of components directly from Iran to the Russian Federation with subsequent “large-node” assembly.
Another important component of the project is the stages of its deployment and development.
Open-source intelligence suggests that soon the Russian leadership intends to take the following steps:

  • the first is to conduct full-scale training of “Elabuga” specialists in Iran, where specialists, the main managerial staff and, at the end, students at technical universities will master the closed cycle of production and operation of “Shaheds”;
  • the second is to transfer the production of part of the components for the production of “Shahed” to the territory of the “free economic zone “Elabuga”;
  • the third is to establish a full-fledged automated production line of kamikaze drones “Shahed” closed-loop.
    Thus, the Russian top military-political leadership of the Russian Federation intends to surpass the Iranian efficiency of manufacturing “Shaheds” tenfold and increase the final production area to 100 thousand square meters.
    At this, it should be emphasized that potentially, production of this scale, in essence, will become a separate cluster of the Russian military-industrial complex, which will be engaged exclusively in the manufacture of kamikaze drones for the Russian armed forces.
    Given the above-mentioned, in the medium and long term, Ukraine, together with its allies, will have to form an adequate solution to respond to this threat, and preventive destruction with the use of long-range high-precision missile weapons is the most obvious of them.

Initial analysis of the relevant destruction systems indicates that the best option for this type of target is the Typhon system – a universal missile system Mid-Range Capability (MRC) from Lockheed Martin Corporation.
This complex is designed to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles at a range of up to 1800 km, as well as SM-6 long-range anti-aircraft missiles.

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