Russia is sending Iran some of the US-made weapons and equipment it captured in Ukraine to undergo “reverse-engineering,” according to a report by CNN, citing sources.
Moscow’s forces have reportedly been collecting Western-supplied defense systems left on the battlefield whenever they capture territory.
According to the sources, they already possess US-made shoulder-fired weapons such as Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft systems.
These weapons are flown straight to Tehran to dismantle and analyze, probably so the Iranian military can make their own versions.
The sources also claim that Russia’s move to provide its ally with Western weapons will incentivize Iran to maintain its support for President Vladimir Putin’s war.
The US is already aware of Iran’s ability to reverse-engineer weapon systems from its enemies.
Tehran’s Toophan anti-tank guided missile was reportedly reverse-engineered from the American BGM-71 TOW missile in the 1970s.
In 2011, the Iranian military intercepted a US-made Sentinel drone and created its own version that crossed into Israeli airspace in 2018.
“Iran has demonstrated the capability to reverse-engineer US weapons in the past,” the Center for a New American Security’s Jonathan Lord said.
“Iran could do the same with a Stinger, which could threaten civil and military aviation throughout the region. A reverse-engineered Javelin could be used by Hamas or Hezbollah to threaten an Israeli Merkava tank.”
As of this moment, it is still unclear if Iran has successfully reverse-engineered any US weapon captured by Russian forces in Ukraine.
However, US officials do not believe the issue is widespread.
Kyiv has reported any losses of US-donated weapons since the beginning of the war. Still, they admitted that the issue is very difficult to track.