Iranian satellite to spy on Ukraine as Russia strengthens Tehran ties

Iranian satellite to spy on Ukraine as Russia strengthens Tehran ties

Russia is reportedly planning to use a new Iranian satellite to spy on Ukraine’s army and improve its intelligence gathering, in a sign of deepening military cooperation between the two countries.

It comes as Ukrainian officials said on Saturday that Moscow had received Iranian armed drones that could impact the war “dramatically”.

Russian engineers are preparing to launch the satellite, named Khayyam, into space from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan on August 9, the culmination of a four-year project.

Iran claims the satellite, which was manufactured by Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, will be used to monitor water use and agriculture.

Equipped with advanced cameras

But the spacecraft is equipped with advanced, high-resolution cameras and, according to the Washington Post, Russia wants to use the satellite for a few months first.

It is reportedly planning to use it to spy on Ukraine’s military before it hands control of the spacecraft over to Iran.

The prospect of Russia and Iran using a satellite to spy on enemies has set off alarm bells in the West and could threaten the revival of a 2015 Iran nuclear deal that broke down under former US president Donald Trump. Talks restarted on Friday in Vienna.

By embedding Tehran into its arms-supply network, the Kremlin is building up an alliance that supports its war in Ukraine. That support is already starting to pay dividends.

Iran has already sent 46 drones to Russia, according to Aleksey Arestovich, adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“According to some reports, it seems that their use has already been noted,” he said.

Iran has emerged as a leading manufacturer of armed drones. Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Tehran for a trilateral meeting with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ahead of the meeting, officials had said that Mr Putin would ask for Iranian support for his war and supplies of drones.

Western intelligence has said that Russia lost a large proportion of its drones in the first few weeks of the war. It has also said that most of Russia’s Orlan drones are meant for reconnaissance, rather than attack missions.

Drones have played a major role in the Ukraine-Russia war.

Ukraine’s Turkish-made Bayraktar drones have hit Russian tanks and ships with missiles, while commercial drones have dropped hand grenades down tank hatches.

One of the best drones around

Iran’s Shahed 129 drone – a large unmanned vehicle that can fire anti-tank missiles and transmit pictures and video – is considered one of the best around.

Modelled on the US MQ-1 Predator and the Israeli Hermes 450, it has a wingspan slightly shorter than the length of a London bus and can fly at around 100 miles per hour up to a range of 130 miles.

Experts have described the Shahed 129 as “very capable” and the “backbone” of Iran’s drone fleet.

Russian officials have not commented but pro-Kremlin Russian military analysts have talked up the potential impact of the Shahed 129.

Gennady Alekhin, a Russian military analyst, said that they could be transferred to Donetsk rebel units.

“If the people’s militia receives its long-range attack drones [and that] power and accuracy of destruction, then the situation on the front line may change dramatically,” he told the Gazeta.ru news website.

The post Iranian satellite to spy on Ukraine as Russia strengthens Tehran ties appeared first on The Telegraph.

Last Update: Sat, 06 Aug 22 14:39:06