As Russia continues its unjustified and illegal attack in the new year, assault drones have become one of the deadliest threats Ukraine faces. Russia’s Iranian-made Shahed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have earned the nickname “kamikaze drones” over their explosive usage against military and civilian targets. Now an alarming New York connection was discovered in an assault drone shot down over Ukraine.

Ukraine’s air defense system shot down 89 Russian attack UAVs over New Years weekend. Many of the Stinger and surface-to-air missiles used to take down the drones are provided by the US military. On the other side, US-made tech has now been found powering the Shaheds - despite sanctions against American companies selling to Iran and Russia.

Inside the "Kamikaze Drone"

CNN reports that Ukrainian officials picked 52 parts out of a downed Russian-used drone, and that 40 were made in America by 13 different companies. The majority of the US parts found in the drone came from Texas Instruments, but circuit-board semiconductor components were found from a company with a New York fabrication facility.

Onsemi, which develops and makes semiconductors, has a Rochester production facility. The company is also in the final stages of a handoff with GlobalFoundries to occupy their East Fishkill facility in the Hudson Valley. There are five more Onsemi manufacturing facilities in the US.

How Did Onsemi's Tech Get Into Iranian Hands?

A semiconductor-integrated circuit board

Onsemi, which is headquartered in Arizona, told CNN the company follows all US export laws and sanctions. This includes not selling products to Russia, Iran, or foreign militaries. For Onsemi products to fall into illegal hands, the products would have to be sold to a third-party that is selling the parts to Iran behind the tech company’s back.

“We cooperate with law enforcement and government agencies as necessary and appropriate to demonstrate how Onsemi conducts business in accordance with all legal requirements and that we hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethical conduct.” - Onsemi to CNN

This leaves the problem largely out of Onsemi’s hands, liability-wise, but US officials say this discovery means supply chains must be tightened. The National Security Council is considering extra export controls on semiconductors and high-level technology. This could put a pinch on New York’s booming tech industry.

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Gallery Credit: Cameron Coats

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