The manufacturer of engines for ultralight aircraft and drones ended up in the eye of the storm for an incredible discovery that took place in the last period. In fact, some gangs of criminals steal these precious engines to illegally supply a particular market. What was discovered? Why does the Rotax gang act? Here’s everything you need to know about this story.
There Rotax is an Austrian company that produces sophisticated engines for aircraft, ultralights, drones and for various other categories, such as quads, boats, motorbike sledges and more. Until 1980, the company created only two-stroke engines. From that date on, however, it also built four-stroke engines and also moved on to supply the aeronautical sector.
But in recent weeks the company has made international headlines for a disconcerting discovery. Indeed, it would appear that Rotax engines are being used by the Russians on Iranian drones to bomb Ukraine.
The incredible discovery was made on the occasion of the discovery of the 912 engine of a Mohajer 6 crashed into the sea in Odessa recently. The drone, therefore, was equipped with a Rotax engine. The Austrian manufacturer of these engines justified itself in this way: “We have never authorized the sale to Iran or Russia and for this reason we have opened an investigation to find out the origin of the engines”.
What’s going on, then? Why are unauthorized Rotax engines used in this illegal way? The specialized site Warzone claims how these engines may have been stolen from a so-called Rotax gang, so that they could be illicitly sold to Tehran. But what do we know about these thefts?
Stolen Rotax engines: here’s everything you need to know about this sad story
But how did the Rotax engines end up in the Iranian drones used by the Russians? The Austrian firm never supplied its engines to Russia after the outbreak of war and subsequent sanctions. In fact, Rotax engines are known to be used by the American Predator and Israeli Heron drones.
Rotax engines then made their way to Iran and Russia thanks to a sophisticated gang of criminals acting across Europe to steal these ‘valuable’ devices. In fact, these engines used on drones can be found in any hangar, since they are also used on small ultralight aircraft.
More and more of them have disappeared in recent years. The company, therefore, has put the data on the stolen machinery on the web, so that as much information as possible can be drawn on the shady ring that has been created. At least 130 engines would have disappeared throughout the Old Continent, number which, however, would appear to be only partial.
In Italy alone, 27 thefts of Rotax engines have been ascertained. The number is highest in Germany (31) and the United Kingdom (36). A Rotax engine is a very expensive item – approx 40 thousand euros a piece – and has a weight very high. THE 55 kg for a Rotax 912 – the one found on board the drone found in Odessa – make it clear how the theft is unwieldy and must be done by gangs of professional criminals.
Theft for personal use of these engines is completely impossible, as each model is tracked. Furthermore, the practicality of theft – as we have seen – is very low indeed. The investigation that was recently opened will have to shed light on who commissioned the thefts of the Rotax engines.