Thursday, October 27, 2022

A suggestion that an international crime wave stealing engines from small aircraft is providing the engines for Iran's drones

The Drive:

The Austrian-made Rotax light aircraft engine recently found in a Russian-operated, Iranian-made Mohajar-6 drone recovered by Ukrainian forces is a model that has been at the center of a puzzling and prolonged theft campaign around the globe, but especially in Europe. Sophisticated criminals who know how to circumvent airport security measures and find engines that often have low operating hours and surgically remove them have been the hallmark of the widespread thefts.

So many have been stolen just in the U.K. alone that Operation Opal - a national intelligence team focused on organized crime - was called in to investigate the matter, according to the British Microlight Aircraft Association (BMAA), which along with the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) is collating information about the thefts in the U.K. These facts certainly point to the possibility that Tehran has been getting at least some of its drone engines by having operatives systemically literally rip them out of aircraft in foreign countries.