A BRP ROTAX engine on a Russian drone in Ukraine?

A BRP ROTAX engine on a Russian drone in Ukraine?

UPDATE DAY

The CNN network aired a report on Tuesday evening from its chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward, who had exclusive access to a Russian-made drone Iranian in Ukraine. The aircraft, which landed in the Black Sea near Odessa after coming under Ukrainian fire, was recovered almost intact.

The report shows a Ukrainian military intelligence officer giving details of the Mohajer-6 drone to the journalist. 

You can clearly see the word ROTAX written on its engine. ROTAX is an Austrian subsidiary belonging to the Quebec company Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) based in Valcourt, in the Eastern Townships, which is best known for its snowmobiles or personal watercraft.

In the CNN report, the officer explains an inscription on the propeller of the drone which seems to indicate that it was assembled last February. 

In the images shot by CNN, we clearly see the mention ROTAX on the drone motor.

In another shot of the report, we can read on the “912iS” engine, the number of a variant of the BRP/ROTAX.

The role of Iran

Another photo posted on the Defense Industry of Ukraine site shows the ROTAX name applied to another part of the engine. The Iranian government categorically denies supplying drones to Russia.

These photos from the Defense Industry of Ukraine website show the word Rotax on another part of the engine.

In 2020, as soon as the Armenians were revealed to be the target of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones with Rotax engine, BRP announced the suspension of its engine sales to Turkey while Ottawa suspended the relevant export licenses “time to better assess the situation.”

BRP stated that their authenticity and provenance were difficult to establish since its representatives did not have access to the found engines or their serial numbers. It also made it impossible to determine whether these engines were actually Rotax engines or counterfeits.

BRP is opening an investigation

Asked to comment on the CNN footage, BRP sent us the following email. 

“We are taking this situation very seriously. We have already started an investigation in collaboration with our distributors and are exploring the situation with a partner on Ukrainian soil to try to determine the origin of this engine.

A BRP ROTAX engine on a Russian drone in Ukraine?

A ROTAX engine from BRP on a Russian drone in Ukraine?

Further, we reiterate that Rotax aircraft engines are produced, designed or certified for civilian use only. BRP-Rotax does not supply motors directly to any drone manufacturer and has no contractual agreement with them. We sell Rotax aircraft engines through an independent worldwide network of distributors and our engines are exclusively designed and produced for civil use and are certified by the applicable civil regulatory authority.”

About Iran's Mohajer-6 drone

The Mohajer-6 is a drone (unmanned combat aerial vehicle) capable of being armed with four precision-targeting projectiles (missiles or guided bombs). Its maximum speed is 200 km/h, its flight time 12 hours. The Russians used it to hit targets in the Odessa, Mykolaiv and Dnipro regions.

Mass production of the drone began in 2018 and 210 units are believed to have been built as of September 2022.

About BRP/ROTAX 912/914 engines< /h3>

Made in Austria, the ROTAX 912/914 are light aircraft variants of the snowmobile engine manufactured by BRP. They are among the most popular engines for propelling light aircraft and drones. Their low operating cost and exceptional power-to-weight ratio have made them the choice of over 200 light aircraft and drone manufacturers.

< p>Several countries have used or are using drones armed with Rotax engines or counterfeits: the United States, Israel, Pakistan, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Nigeria and Turkey.

A BRP ROTAX engine on a Russian drone in Ukraine?