Iranian state media have released a video purportedly showing a jet-powered version of the Shahed-series one-way attack drone, which Russia has used in its war in Ukraine.
According to military analysts, the new version would be much faster and more difficult to intercept than the current Shahed-136 “kamikaze” drone, which is outfitted with a puttering piston engine.
🔥 انتشار برای نخستینبار؛ نسل جدید پهپادهای انتحاری شاهد مجهز به موتور مینیجت pic.twitter.com/ScgiYrVueG— MESHKAT (@projectmeshkat) September 26, 2023
“The turbojet will provide speed and altitude. While the Shahed-136 cruises at around 120mph, slow enough to be engaged by anti-aircraft guns and even Kalashnikovs, the jet drone will come in at much greater speed,” wrote David Hambling, senior contributor at Forbes.
“A large percentage of Shaheds [used against Ukraine] are shot down, many by Gepard flakpanzers with twin automatic cannon,” he added.
Hambling also noted that the range of the jet-powered drone may be far less than the 1,900 kilometers reported for the Shahed-136, and the jet engine’s high heat output will make it a much easier target for heat-seeking missiles.
The new version of the unmanned aerial vehicle appeared in the trailer for a documentary called Parchamdar, which celebrates the history of drone development and production in Iran.
The documentary was officially unveiled on September 26 in the presence of Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard Aerospace Force.
The European Union, the United States and other countries have issued multiple rounds of sanctions against the Islamic Republic in recent months over its supply of hundreds of Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 drones to Russia.
The West has also imposed sanctions on Russia over its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.