Pia Steckelbach

i24NEWS correspondent

CEO of the Chekad Sanat Faraz Asia Company (R), and its chief scientist, presented as an exclusive to i24NEWS from ALMA research group.
Courtesy ALMACEO of the Chekad Sanat Faraz Asia Company (R), and its chief scientist, presented as an exclusive to i24NEWS from ALMA research group.

Israeli research center ALMA reveals the identity of scientists behind the Iranian Shahed 136 UAV

These are the faces behind the Iranian Drone program. The Israeli research group Alma, which analyses security challenges on Israel's northern border, identified two of the manufacturing facilities for the Iranian Shahed 136 Drone. 

In a report exclusively obtained by i24NEWS, Alma identified two civilian companies that are allegedly operated by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, and which manufacture components for the Shahed drone. It also named some of their top scientists, two of whom it managed to identify with pictures.

Alma is using open source information to track down alleged Iranian IRGC affiliated drone factories. Their report said both companies change their names from time to time, possibly in order not to be targeted by Western sanctions imposed on Iran.

IRANIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY / AFPThis handout picture provided by the Iranian Army office shows the launch of a military unmanned aerial vehicle during a two-day drone drill at an undisclosed location in Iran.

Shakad Sanat Asmari (also known as Chekad Sanat Faraz Asia) was identified as one of those manufacturing companies. It is said to manufacture parts for the Iranian aviation industry. The company's chief scientist and former CEO was identified as Ehsan Rahat Varnosfadrani. In 2022 he published a book about the development of a new system to help a pilot control his plane.

The second company responsible for the Shahed 136 drone was named as Saad Sazeh Faraz Sharif (or Daria Fanawar Burhan Sharif). Its CEO is said to be Ehsan Imaninejad. The company was founded in 2016, specializing in the development of communication and optical systems as well as electronic circuits.

Sepah News/AFP/Getty Images
Sepah News/AFP/Getty ImagesAn Iranian drone sits in a hanger in Tehran, Iran.

Tal Beeri, who heads Alma's research department, said that the Shehad 136 drone poses a specific threat to the entire world, and added "it is a drone that is easy to handle, can reach long distances and is relatively cheap." 

He said that most people became aware of drone warfare only in the context of the war in Ukraine. But they have been used before, such as in an Iranian attack on a ship owned by an Israeli billionaire in the Gulf of Oman, last November.

"The psychological aspect should not be underestimated. The drone can be seen in the sky and its sound can be heard by civilians. They are sending dozens and not all of them can always be intercepted," Beeri stated.

The researcher also assumed that Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah will use drones in a potential military escalation with Israel. "The public is not aware enough of the dangers posed by drones," he told i24NEWS, "it is a new type of global threat and I hope that Israel is aware of the information about the Iranian companies."

What is the "Shahed Kamikaze 136"?

Alma said the Shahed Kamikaze 136 is currently used as the main suicide unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Iranian arsenal. It has been used by Russia in its war in Ukraine. According to Alma's previous publications, Iranian drones have also been found in African countries, as well as in Venezuela.

Courtesy ALMA
Courtesy ALMAInfographic about the Iranian Shahed 136 Kamikaze drone, presented as an exclusive to i24NEWS from ALMA research group.

The White House assumed that Russia is deepening its defense cooperation with Iran and received hundreds of one-way attack drones that it is using to strike Ukraine. For Kyiv, it is an alarming development. 

Natalia Gumenyuk, a spokesperson of the Southern Ukrainian Defense Forces, said today that they recently experience fewer drone attacks, which could indicate that a new shipment is around the corner, "we can absolutely say that they have the understandings to continue these shipments."

magnifier linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram