This well-preserved drone was found in the field following the recent large-scale Russian massive combined air offensive against Ukraine. Based on available images, the drone appears to have been shot down by an undisclosed electronic warfare system.
Of particular note is the unconventional black exterior of this kamikaze-style drone. This particular variant of the Shahed-136 was only recently used for strikes against Ukraine. Ukrainian air defense units have repeatedly managed to successfully intercept these drones. A closer examination of the remains of the drones found revealed several modifications, including changes to the drones’ structural materials, navigation system and warhead.
Shahed’s latest drone navigation systems feature Russian-made Kometa digital antennas, a strategic fit to reduce susceptibility to enemy jamming. The technology is similar to that used in Russia’s UMPK flying bombs.
In addition, according to the publication, the new Shahed drones have composite bodies filled with a strong foam-like material, which differs from previous modular drones with cellular structures. The decision to paint the Shahed-136 drones black was made to make visual identification difficult, especially during night operations.
Russia assembles these drones, called Geran-2, at a factory 800 km east of Moscow in the Tatarstan region using kits supplied from Iran. Western intelligence reports suggest that the Kremlin is ramping up production of these drones and plans to increase localization over time by establishing additional factories to manufacture their components.