When implemented by Russia, the aforementioned upgrade will greatly increase the Shahed-136 suicide UAV’s accuracy and range.
Shahed-136, an Iranian suicide drone that is used in military special operations under the codename Geran-2, has demonstrated its superiority in the task of destroying the infrastructure of Ukraine, especially given that the aforementioned attack drone is already a very powerful weapon in and of itself. The drones’ low cost is guaranteed by their straightforward design, which also ensures that they are quite accurate in their target acquisition and successfully circumvent enemy air defence systems. However, the Shahed-136’s shortcomings have come to light as a result of its use in actual combat situations. In particular, despite a potential flight range of 2,500 km, the inertial navigation system only allows for an effective operating radius of 200 km.
Because of this, the low-cost Shahed-136 missiles were primarily used to attack targets close to the communication line, while the pricy high-precision missiles were used to bomb Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and a few other cities in western Ukraine. Russian military specialists have started fitting Iranian UAVs with a navigation module through the GLONASS global positioning system, however, in order to extend the Shahed-136 suicide drone’s effective range. In an interview with the media prior to the mentioned development, Ukrainian military analyst Mr. Oleksandr Kovalenko raised concern about the Shahed-136s’ improved range when equipped with GLONASS modules.
If the Shahed-136 suicide UAV did in fact get the full-featured GLONASS module, it would no longer be heavily reliant on the infrastructure on the ground and be capable of hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy at a maximum range of over 2,000 kilometers. However, a lot of questions have been raised about the additional GLONASS module in these suicide drones, primarily regarding their electronic countermeasures capabilities.
Israel and NATO have currently given Ukraine a number of sophisticated electronic warfare equipment, one of which is used to obstruct ongoing communications between satellites and ground attack vehicles. The Shahed-136 suicide UAV’s accuracy will be significantly reduced if GLONASS is cut off in areas where Western electronic warfare systems are in use, and it could even lose its direction if jamming comes from a great distance. There is information that Russia and Iran will enhance the Shahed-136 (Geran-2) by giving it the ability to disable an adversary’s radar in addition to the GLONASS receiver block.
But to do this, the aforementioned suicide drone will need to be integrated with passive radar receivers, which are much more expensive and sophisticated.