Visible Progress at Russia’s Shahed Drone Production Site Satellite Imagery Update and Call for Action

November 14, 2023

Weapon Program: 

  • Military


David Albright, Sarah Burkhard, and the Good ISIS team


Institute for Science and International Security

Nearly three months after the Institute and The Washington Post publicly revealed detailed information on the plans of JSC Alabuga 1 (“Alabuga”) to produce thousands of deadly Shahed-136 kamikaze drones on Russian soil, satellite imagery indicates that plans are progressing at the Alabuga Special Economic Zone. Yet, the company responsible, JSC Alabuga, and related companies are still not found on public U.S. or allied sanctions lists. The information in internal documents, analyzed by Institute staff over hundreds of hours, reveals not only detailed timelines for Alabuga’s production of weaponized drones and the establishment of mass production with Iranian assistance, but also multiple pressure points and vulnerabilities. Now, not later, is the time for the U.S. government to take the lead, work with partner governments and industry, and use leverage against those less inclined to cooperate, to hinder Alabuga from succeeding in providing the Russian military with thousands of Shahed-136 drones. With winter fast approaching, and Alabuga’s Shahed output increasing, Russia can be expected to accelerate its Shahed-136 attacks against Ukraine’s vital energy infrastructure, causing brutal living conditions for the civilian population. A key, overdue first step is for the United States and its allies to sanction JSC Alabuga and its associated companies.


Read the full report on the Institute for Science and International Security website.