The rise of Shahed drones: Russia deploys Iran’s cost-effective weapon in Ukraine conflict; here’s all about the drone

Amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia has reportedly deployed the Iranian-made drone Shahed 136 to conduct targeted attacks on various installations within the country. The Shahed 136, known for its long-range capabilities and suicide mission design, has been utilized to strike fixed targets effectively. The deployment of these drones adds a new dimension to the conflict and raises concerns over the use of advanced military technology in the region. We take a look at these drones and their capabilities.

All about Shahed 136 drones

Shahed drones, also known as kamikaze or suicide drones, have emerged as a significant player in modern warfare, particularly in asymmetric conflicts. These Iranian-made loitering munitions possess unique features, making them both a cost-effective and lethal weapon system.

The Shahed family of drones includes the widely recognized Shahed 136, a small, propeller-driven UAV capable of carrying a payload of up to 30 kilograms. With an impressive range of 2,500 kilometers and the ability to loiter for up to 12 hours, the Shahed 136 can autonomously fly to a target and self-destruct upon impact, making it a formidable weapon in various scenarios.

These drones have been utilized in conflicts such as the Syrian Civil War and the ongoing war in Ukraine, demonstrating their effectiveness in striking both military and civilian targets. Their low production and operational costs have further elevated their appeal, making them an attractive choice for nations engaged in asymmetric warfare.


Pros and Cons of Shahed 136 drones

Shahed drones offer numerous advantages, including their low cost, extended range, and autonomous flight capabilities. Their long loiter time allows for strategic planning and reconnaissance, and their self-destructive payload ensures the elimination of threats even in highly fortified locations such as bunkers and command centers.

However, Shahed drones also have limitations that must be considered. Their slow speed and vulnerability to air defenses make them susceptible to interception. Additionally, their payload capacity is relatively limited compared to other military platforms.

The deployment of Shahed drones has sparked concerns over their proliferation and potential implications for regional stability. Yet, Iran justifies their use, asserting that they serve as legitimate tools of war.

Specifications of Shahed 136

  • Manufacturer: HESA Iran
  • Launched: 2021
  • Warhead: 36 kg explosive
  • Range: 2500 kilometers
  • Maximum speed: 185 km/h
  • Weight: 200 kg
  • Length: 3.5 meters
  • Wingspan: 2.5 meters

As Shahed drones continue to play a significant role in modern warfare, nations must carefully weigh the pros and cons of utilizing these versatile weapons. While their cost-effectiveness and autonomy make them attractive for certain missions, their vulnerabilities and limited payload capacity warrant cautious consideration.

As military technology evolves, the impact of Shahed drones on the dynamics of conflict will undoubtedly be a subject of ongoing study and strategic analysis. As such, international communities must closely monitor their proliferation and use, ensuring that their deployment adheres to the principles of responsible and ethical warfare.

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