A new jet-powered Shahed kamikaze drone has reportedly been shot down in Ukraine, though the country’s air force has said it could not currently confirm the incident.

Serhiy Beskrestnov, a Ukrainian soldier specializing in radio technologies and operating under the callsign “Flash,” reported the discovery on his Telegram channel on Monday.

“I did not think that they would appear in us so quickly. It was recently exhibited by Iran for the first time,” he said, referring to the unveiling of the Shahed-238 drone in November. 

According to Beskrestnov, the new drone – equipped with a Chinese-made engine but retaining most of the features from its predecessors – traveled at above 500 kph, close to three times the speed of the propeller-powered version commonly seen in Ukraine since 2022.

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He said it was shot down in central Ukraine without disclosing the location.

 

But on Tuesday, Ukrainian Air Force spokesperson Colonel Yuriy Ihnat said he was unable to confirm the downing.

“I can’t confirm. We didn’t find it. Whoever found it, let him confirm, show and tell,” he said on television, additionally calling the jet variant a “mini cruise missile” due to its speed.

Beskrestnov added that while it is possible to down the drone, man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) such as Osa, Igla and Stinger missiles are needed as opposed to traditional anti-aircraft guns.

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Despite the improvements, Beskrestnov said it was “no super weapon of the Reich” as it came equipped with a standard warhead and navigation system.

He also warned that Ukrainians should be aware that on top of the “moped” sounding Shaheds, there will also be “the sound of an airplane” above their heads.

Earlier, Kyiv Post reported that Russian Major General Vladimir Popov warned of deploying the new drones against Ukraine in December.

Popov said the new jet-powered Geran-2 drone – a Russian-produced version of the Shahed drones – would come with an improved guidance system and a larger warhead, but that does not appear to be the case in the allegedly downed drone.

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Iran has repeatedly denied claims of supplying Shahed drones to Russia despite evidence that says otherwise, and the potential discovery of the new jet-powered drone – coupled with Popov’s statements – implied that Iran is likely supplying Russia with either the drone or the technology – potentially both.

According to a list compiled by Ukrainian authorities, the majority of the components used to build the Shahed and Geran drones were of foreign origin, including those from the US, thus leading to doubts on the effectiveness of Western sanctions as Russia and Iran continue to produce the drones used to attack Ukraine.

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