The new Shahed-238 kamikaze jet drone, introduced in Iran last November, has already been used to attack Ukraine. It is much faster than its propeller-driven sibling. Shahid 136 – It can reach 500-520 kmph. These drones have already been used to attack Ukraine this year and have certainly piqued the curiosity of weapons systems and electronics experts. Shahid 238 should also be of interest to international sanctions experts.

Shahed-238 is a new Iranian jet drone.  It is a type of armament, a cheaper alternative to cruise missiles.Shahed-238 is a new Iranian jet drone.  It is a type of armament, a cheaper alternative to cruise missiles.

Shahed-238 is a new Iranian jet drone. It is a type of armament, a cheaper alternative to cruise missiles. Image credit: via focus.ua Wikimedia Commons

Russia is not a high-tech country, so it buys cheap weapons from Iran and North Korea. All these friends are included in all Western lists of economic sanctions. You should not think that the Shahed-238 is a particularly sophisticated high-tech weapon. It is a cheaper alternative to cruise missiles. But it still needs standard tech to work.

Yes, the jet engine runs hotter, so theoretically IR-seeking missiles should find the Shahed-238 easier than the propeller-driven Shahed-136. Air defense missiles including MANPADS can easily shoot down jet drones. Also, it is speculated that the Shahed-238 does not have as long a range as its simpler sibling and is inevitably more expensive. But it will still cause problems for Ukraine.

Ukrainian defenders shoot down several cheap Shahid 136 anti-aircraft machine guns – the jet-powered Shahid 238 may be too fast for that. They may have to waste valuable air-missile defense resources, which are very limited. And that is exactly what Russia wants – to eliminate, weaken, and prevent Ukraine from devoting its best air defense systems to covering the front lines. If Ukraine uses its best air defense systems to defend Kiev, it cannot push them closer to the border areas or the front lines.

Ukraine has already shot down several Shahed-238 jet drones, collected and analyzed their debris. The results of this analysis are: Published by Defense Expressbut in a simplified picture they look like this:

The Shahed-238 uses a TJ150 turbojet engine from a Czech company Velká Bíteš. The drone’s navigation system relies on a four-antenna array TW1721 manufactured by Canada’s Tallysman. Satellite navigation signals are processed by American companies Analog Devices and Intel chips. Swiss company STMicroelectronics products take care of inertial navigation. The Shahid 238 drone also has components from other Western companies.

How did this happen? All those components are readily available in the civilian market. You can go online and buy some of them. These components won’t enter Iran due to sanctions, but it’s easy to get some through third-party companies. Maybe even Iranian tourists will bring some home – who knows? The fact that Russia is attacking Ukrainian cities with Iranian drones made with Western components – that world is too small and the restrictions are too small.

written by Povelas M.

Sources: Defence-ua.com, Wikipedia