Not only Russia, but Ukraine also has a Shahed-136 UAV analog

The Ukrainian state defense company, Ukroboronprom, has turned its attention to “more intricate and higher-cost” ventures, despite the apt decision to work with FPV drones instead of pursuing an equivalent to Shahed-136. 

Not only Russia, but Ukraine also has a Shahed-136 UAV analog
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Notwithstanding the media lauding the news of Ukroboronprom’s start on mass manufacturing of a Shahed-136 kamikaze drone counterpart, the company’s lead, Herman Smetanin, recently stated in an interview that this was not a priority. 

In that original discourse with Ukrainska Pravda, Herman Smetanin affirmed that the previously announced 1,000-kilometer drone is being manufactured, in association with international partners, and has already been commissioned by the Ukrainian defense forces. 

Further questioning regarding whether it is a Shahed analog drew the response, “There are many state and private manufacturers in Ukraine. We have an analogue of “Shaheds”, and there are also more powerful models, because “Shaheds” do not fly that far. We are now focused on the production of more complex and expensive projects with high performance.” as articulated by Smetanin, the head of Ukroboronprom. 

The emphasis of this statement is on the second sentence, indicating Ukroboronprom’s leaning toward projects of a more intricate and expensive nature, expected to showcase superior features. The initial sentence, however, substantiates that Kyiv possesses a Shahed counterpart, albeit not a chief pursuit. 

The indistinct aspect of the dialogue was whether the “Shahed counterpart” is currently in production and actively used in the conflict with Russia, given the shift in conversation focus onto the pressing topic of novel unmanned platforms surpassing Shahed-136. 

The primary focus of the dialogue revolves around the developmental narrative of Ukroboronprom’s Ukrainian drones. BulgarianMilitary.com had reminded readers last year that Oleg Boldyrev, otherwise known as Martin Brest, the head of the Ukrainian firm, deemed the “new drones” as “multifunctional platforms.”

These could include kamikaze drones as well as reconnaissance or attack drones. The design theory involves a single-use strategy for missile aircraft and long-term consistent performance for reconnaissance UAVs. 

In layman’s terms, a missile aircraft’s lifespan consists of a signle, target-aimed flight. On the other hand, a reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle [UAV] has a much-extended lifespan with countless hours airborne, accompanied by numerous take-offs and landings. 

The aforementioned UAVs’ design requirements are vastly different. The primary benefit of any missile aircraft is that it should be cost-efficient and, therefore produced in abundance. This abundance allows the Russian Federation to obtain aviation missiles from Iran, in figures exceeding 500 per month. 

Ukrainian experts question whether Ukroboronprom manufactures a Shahed counterpart, pointing to Smetanin’s insistence on “more intricate systems”. However, his interview does not corroborate that these more complex systems equate to the Iranian Shahed analogs. The dialogue insinuates that the “Ukrainian Shahed” fails in fulfilling the Ukrainian military’s prerequisites, hence more complex systems are under construction. 

The FMV drone series, meanwhile, holds promise, with Smetanin confirming that Ukroboronprom is trailblazing the path in the licensed production of existing models, assembled by state-sector companies. 

“We possess the necessary manpower, infrastructure, and components which enable us to manufacture. We enhance the development scale of anyone willing to collaborate,” articulated the head of Ukroboronprom.