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Iran upgrades Shahed-136 kamikaze drone with turbojet engine

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TEHRAN, Iran – Iran has announced a significant upgrade to its Shahed-136 kamikaze drone, equipping it with a turbojet engine, transforming it into a more formidable weapon, and eliminating its distinct humming noise, likened to a moped. This development comes alongside the release of a propaganda movie detailing the creation of the Shahed UAV, set to be shown to the Iranian public in the near future.

The Shahed-136 drone has gained notoriety for its primary role in attacking stationary ground targets with known coordinates. Its precision strikes on fixed installations, such as critical infrastructure, have made it a valuable tool for Iran’s military strategy.

Shahed 136: Design and specifications
The Shahed-136 boasts a distinctive delta-wing shape, resembling its smaller counterpart, the Shahed-131, with the key difference being its wingtip stabilizers. Powering the drone is the MADO MD-550 piston engine, generating 50 horsepower. Notably, this engine is an Iranian replication of the German Limbach L550E. Positioned at the rear of the drone, the engine propels it at a maximum speed of approximately 185 km/h. Although the exact range remains undisclosed, estimates vary from 1,000 km to 2,500 km, while it can reach a flight ceiling of up to 4 km.

Shahed 136 variants: Geran 2
A variant of the Shahed-136, known as Geran 2, has gained prominence in Russia. In 2022, Russia reportedly acquired at least 2,400 of these drones from Iran to address an urgent operational requirement during the conflict in Ukraine. The Russian version is said to include a built-in GLONASS satellite navigation system, enhancing its precision. Despite Ukrainian air defense systems claiming to intercept 85% of these drones, some still manage to reach their intended targets, underscoring the threat posed by this loitering munition.

The upgrade to the Shahed-136, along with the release of a propaganda movie, highlights Iran’s efforts to bolster its military capabilities and maintain a strong presence in the region. The development of advanced drones like the Shahed-136 and its variants continues to be a source of concern and scrutiny for the international community, as it may impact regional stability and security.

As tensions persist in the Middle East and neighboring regions, Iran’s advancements in drone technology add a layer of complexity to the geopolitical landscape. International observers will undoubtedly closely monitor the situation and assess the implications of Iran’s upgraded kamikaze drone on regional dynamics and security.

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