Among the wreckage of the Russian Lancet drone, the Ukrainian military found an engine made by the Czech company Models Motors

Among the wreckage of the Russian Lancet drone, the Ukrainian military found an engine made by the Czech company Models Motors

Russian Lancet drones are likely to be manufactured using engines from the Czech company Models Motors.

A photo with the engine, found among the wreckage of a Russian drone, was posted by a soldier of the 93rd Guards Mechanized Brigade, Yevhen Cherepnia.

Yevhen Cherepnya told Svidomy that the military found scattered components in the woods, including an engine wrapped in black reinforced tape.

The military removed the tape and saw the manufacturer's name — Models Motors. It was an AXI 5330/18 engine.

Cherepnia added that it was the first time they had found such a thing. He does not rule out the possibility that the components of Russian drones may contain parts from other — including foreign — companies.

In a commentary to Svidomi, Models Motors said they "had never supplied engines for [the production of] Russian weapons". 

The company explained they had been trying to find out how the engines had ended up in Russia for a long time. They have also engaged the Czech government in this effort.

"Our engines are exported worldwide, and through some third party or company, they were apparently resold to Russia," Model Motors stated.

The company also added that the engine of this model had not been manufactured or sold for at least a year. Model Motors does not intend to resume production and sales of this type of engine.

Roman Steblivskyi, an analyst at the Trap Aggressor project of the StateWatch NGO, says that open registers do not contain information on purchasing Czech engines for the ZALA Aero Group, which produces Lancets for the Russian army.

However, there is information about the Russian company Entep, which in December 2022 declared the supply of an AXI 5330/18 GOLD LINE V2 engine manufactured by Model Motors.

This is evidenced by the Russian database "Declaration of Conformity". The Declaration of Conformity is a document in the technical regulation system on the compliance of products with the requirements of the Customs Union regarding safety standards.

As Trap Aggressor found out, Entep, whose CEO is Igor Nakonechny, also has a store in Russia called Aviator-RC, through which it sells electric motors, among other things. Among the products presented are engines manufactured by Model Motors.

According to the Export Genius database, the Russian company imported various electronics for drones from Türkiye and China, including Hacker Motor GmbH, SCORPION PRECISION INDUSTRY (H.K.) CO., LTD., T-MOTOR, IFLIGHT. 

In 2022-2023, Entep imported goods worth USD 405 thousand.

The fact that a Russian online store sells electric motors does not mean that the same company supplies engines for military drones. However, it does show that Russians can circumvent international sanctions by importing goods made by foreign companies and selling them on the Russian market for the Russian army.

"The fact that this store imports engines and sells them in Russia does not mean that it is the same store that sells products to the company that makes the lancets. I have not seen any open tenders to confirm this. At the same time, this does not mean there were no closed tenders. At least we can see for sure that there are Russian stores currently selling products of this Czech company on the market," added Roman Steblivskyi.

In July, Russian journalists reported that the production capacity of Lancet drones manufactured by Zala Aero had increased. It is a part of the Russian Kalashnikov concern.