New Iranian drone full of Western technology

Shahed-238 at Iran's official presentation Source: Iranian state media

In early January 2024, Ukraine managed to shoot down a new type of drone used by Russia and built in Iran: the Shahed-238. It was disassembled and analyzed. It turned out that it is full of western technology.

A month ago, Ukraine confirmed that Russia was using a new type of jet drone. This drone was successfully intercepted by Ukrainian air defense. Hackers stole additional items Information from the Iranian manufacturer. These speak of a jet variant of the Shahed drone called M-237, which is most likely the Shahed-238. This exact drone has now been examined in more detail and details about the components published.

Jet engine PBS TJ150 from the wreckage of Shahed-238 Source: Defense Express

The drone has a TJ150 turbojet engine from the Czech company PBS Velká Bíteš. This jet engine produces a maximum thrust of 1.500 Newtons and can accelerate the drone to a speed of 500-600km/h. The drive only weighs 18.9kg. The manufacturer states a maximum operating altitude of 9000m, which also matches the data we published from the Iranian manufacturer's leak. Compared to the previous models, this variant is now significantly faster and therefore more difficult to capture and shoot. This represents a serious problem for Ukrainian air defense, as many of the mobile drone hunter teams are often only equipped with old anti-aircraft guns, which will now make it much more difficult to capture the much faster Shahed-238.
As is now known from the Shahed drone family, a mixture of an internal, independent inertial navigation unit and satellite navigation is used to navigate the drone. To ensure navigation via GPS and GLONASS, four TW1712 antennas from the Canadian company Talisman are used here. Only two antennas from the same manufacturer have been discovered in the Shahed-136s shot down in Ukraine so far. The doubled number of receivers is presumably intended to improve accuracy and at the same time reduce susceptibility to interference (jamming). The number of antennas also matches the number mentioned in the leak for the new Shahed-200 series. The processors of the Shahed-238 are also the same as those of the Shahed-136. These are AD9361 from the American manufacturer Analog Devices and TMS320F28335 from Texas Instruments. This similarity in construction could in turn lead to the fact that if ours Hacked control system theory the Shahed-136 should apply, the Shahed-238 could also be susceptible to this.
At the same time, however, the Shahed-238 also has active guidance systems for target reconnaissance and target engagement. We had already suspected this in our article about the new drones. This is a radar and infrared seeker head. With the help of these systems, the drone is able to capture targets much more precisely and not rely solely on coordinates. It can also be used to capture moving targets and the drone can be detected live and manually at a distance of 150km, with the help of a Repeater drone M-236 can even be controlled up to 220km. Since it would be the cheapest and easiest, it can be assumed that the same guidance system will also be used in the Shahed-236, which also appeared in the leak under the name MC-236. However, this drone has not yet officially appeared in Ukraine. 

Technical data of the Shahed-238/M-237 Source: Leak

The analysis of the components shows that the new 200 series drones will pose a challenge for Ukraine. Ukraine must adapt its air defense to these new threats in order to be able to counter Russian drone development.
At the same time, the many Western components of the drone clearly show how important sanctions against Russia are, which make it more difficult for the Russian war economy to obtain these Western components. The jet drive from a Czech company in particular offers a new point of attack for interrupting supply chains for drone construction. In contrast to computer chips, which are freely and easily available on the global market, it should be possible to trace and stop the supply chain for the jet engines. These developments show how important the EU's upcoming 13th sanctions package against Russia is. The military-technical complex of Russia and Iran must be targeted more closely.