Russia may have debuted an upgraded jet-powered Sahed drone that is harder to intercept in Ukraine.
A popular Ukrainian blogger first shared the purported images of Shahed-238 drone debris on his Telegram channel on Tuesday.
Describing himself as an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the blogger wrote that the drone was downed in Ukrainian territory.
/1. Wreckage of the Shahed shot down in Ukraine with a jet engine installed. This is the first known case of their use.https://t.co/lY3Js7yPH4 pic.twitter.com/AwlvBrDAmz
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) January 8, 2024
Russian General’s Claim
The Ukraine Armed Forces has yet to confirm the claim.
However, Russian Major General, Vladimir Popov, said in December that a jet-powered version of the Shahed 136 kamikaze drone would soon be deployed in the country.
According to Popov, the drone has a speed of 800 kilometers/hour (497 miles/ hour), an improved guidance system, and a larger warhead.
Iran unveiled the Shahed-238 in September 2023. The drone has a stated speed of 500 kilometers/hour (310 miles/ hour ), almost three times that of the propeller-driven Shahed 136.
It is likely to be powered by a TEM Tolue-10 engine, which is a copy of the Czech PBS Aerospace TJ100.
Harder to Intercept
The drone’s increased speed is likely to make its detection, tracking, and interception difficult compared to its predecessors, Newsweek wrote, citing weapons expert David Hambling.
It would give Ukrainian short-range air defense tools, such as machine guns and cannons, a shorter window of time to react, the outlet added.
Conversely, the drone’s extra weight, due to fuel, is likely to reduce its range and payload.
It would also be more expensive. “For the Russians, there will be a calculus of producing fewer drones with a greater chance of getting through or flooding the defenses with lower-cost drones, which are likely to get intercepted,” Hambling added.