Sudanese Military’s Use of Iranian Drones Threatens Regional Stability

Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) recently posted images on their social media pages showing wreckage of a drone in late January, confirming suspicions that Iran is supplying the Sudanese armed forces with armed drones.

Through the photos shared by the RSF online, experts were able to identify the drone as an Iranian-made combat drone of the “Mohajer-6” model. The RSF stated on ( X ) that they had recently shot down three of these drones.

The “Mohajer-6” drone can carry up to four air-to-ground missiles with surveillance devices, and has a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour.

Satellite images released by “Planet Labs” in early January showed “Mohajer-6” drones and a ground control vehicle on the runway at the “Wadi Seidna Air Base,” approximately 22 kilometers north of the capital, Khartoum.

This incident marks the latest escalation in the ongoing conflict for control of Sudan between the RSF, led by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, commonly known as Hemeti, and the Sudanese Armed Forces, led by Lieutenant General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Sudanese, the displacement of another 11 million, the destruction of villages and towns in Darfur, and the devastation of Khartoum’s suburbs.

Both sides use drones for surveillance and attack missions. The Sudanese military recently released videos circulated by ( X ) users showing attacks on RSF positions using suicide drones and drones dropping mortar shells on RSF fighters. It is unclear whether the drones appearing in the videos are of Iranian origin.

The RSF uses drones to monitor and attack the army, along with surface-to-air missiles capable of shooting down drones and other aircraft.

Iranian officials visited Sudan in December to obtain deadlier drones to assist the army in retaking territories seized by the RSF, which now controls a large part of Darfur and southern Sudan, including vital agricultural areas in the Nile State. The Sudanese military, based in Port Sudan, primarily controls the Nile, eastern provinces, and the Red Sea coast.

The presence of “Mohajer-6” drones and similar drones reminds that the Sudanese military continues to rely on aerial attacks and heavy weapons against the RSF, whose fighters formed the infantry of the army under the ousted dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir

The “Sudan Monitor” website reported the arrival of Iranian cargo planes in Sudan in late January. A few days later, Sudanese officials, on behalf of the Sudanese army, visited Iran to negotiate the restoration of diplomatic relations after a seven-year hiatus.

In an article on the “Medium” website, analyst Ira Sahani pointed out that the introduction of Iranian drones could tilt the conflict balance in favor of the Sudanese army.

She says, “The introduction of Iranian drones complicates an already complex conflict; the use of advanced weapons in a civil war not only escalates violence but also raises concerns about the potential to disrupt regional stability.”

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