In September, Russian troops attacked Ukraine with 503 Shahed-type drones. This is a record number of drones used against Ukraine in a month since the start of the full-scale invasion, as calculated by the Ukrainian information and consulting company Defense Express.
According to its data, Ukrainian regions were subjected to Russian drone attacks for 19 days in September. On average, Russia launched 26 drones each time, and 44 drones twice in September. The maximum pause between impacts was only two days. The Ukrainian side managed to shoot down 396 drones.
Defense Express writes that it is not known at what price Russia is purchasing Shahed missiles from Iran, but their estimated cost is approximately 20 to 40 thousand dollars. Thus, according to the company’s calculations, if Russia bought drones at cost, then the cost of drones could range from 10 to 20 million dollars
Protection against drones, as noted, costs Ukraine more than the cost of drones. “If, of course, we imagine purely theoretically that one rocket for NASAMS would be spent on each Shahed-136, the costs in September would have amounted to $654 million,” Defense Express points out.
The US and EU have imposed sanctions against Iranian drone manufacturers. In February 2023, The Wall Street Journal reported that Russia, together with Iran, are planning to build a drone production plant with a capacity of six thousand units per year in Tatarstan. According to the publication, the plant will produce an improved model of the Shahed-136 drone with a new engine.
Sources said the plant is part of a $1 billion deal Moscow struck with Iran. However, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, after the publication of the article, said that Russia “has a number of its own programs to create UAVs for a variety of purposes” and did not confirm military cooperation with Iran in the production of drones.