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Reports state that the first tranche of Iranian drones intended for use in Ukraine has made it to Russia, confirming rumors that have been swirling for weeks, and some U.S. officials have assessed that the delivery is only just the beginning as ‘hundreds’ more are expected to be imported on an undisclosed timeline. Mohajer-6s and the Shahed-series of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, reportedly make up at least some of the initial shipment, and different variations of the types are capable of various operations including conducting surveillance, strikes, and electronic warfare missions. In this piece, The War Zone will provide an explainer of these systems to try and better understand the role they may play in Ukraine.

Several media outlets have cited both Iranian and U.S. defense officials, named and unnamed, in their reports about the delivery, which is largely said to have been an effort to provide a way for Russia to quickly get its hands on the kinds of capabilities it desperately needs for its faltering operations in Ukraine. Massive losses of equipment paired with supply shortages brought by international sanctions and export controls have significantly limited Russia’s access to higher-tech components that go into weapons and other equipment for its armed forces. This has helped Ukraine retain ground as Russia tries to sustain its invasion long past its original estimates.