Belarus Displays Iranian Shahed Drones as domestic development

Belarus Displays Iranian Shahed Drones as domestic development

Belarus showcased what it claimed to be a new domestically developed drone during its Independence Day military parade on July 3. However, keen observers quickly noted striking similarities between these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the Iranian-made Shahed kamikaze drones, raising questions about the true origin of Belarus’s latest military hardware.

The drones, dubbed “Kochyovnyk” by Belarusian authorities, boast impressive specifications:

  • Warhead capacity: Up to 52 kg
  • Maximum speed: 180 km/h
  • Operational range: Up to 2000 km

These capabilities mirror those of the Shahed drones, which have gained notoriety through their use by Russian forces in Ukraine under the name Gheran-2.

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The revelation of these drones in Belarus’s arsenal comes after months of speculation about potential military technology transfers between Iran, Russia, and Belarus. In July 2023, Belarusian Defense Minister Viktor Khrenin’s visit to Iran and meetings with Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Ashtiani fueled rumors about possible plans to produce Shahed drones on Belarusian soil.

    The introduction of these drones into Belarus’s military inventory could significantly alter the strategic balance in Eastern Europe. Their long range and payload capacity make them potential game-changers in any future conflicts.

    However, it remains unclear whether Belarus has actually established domestic production capabilities for these sophisticated UAVs or if this showcase is merely a form of strategic posturing. The international community will undoubtedly be watching closely for any signs of increased drone activity or production in Belarus.

    As tensions continue to simmer in the region, the appearance of these drones at Belarus’s Independence Day parade serves as a stark reminder of the evolving nature of modern warfare and the complex web of international relations shaping military technology transfers.

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