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China's Developing Own Shahed-136 Analog With a Jet Engine

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Illustrative photo: presentation launch of an iranian Shahed-136 loitering munition / Screenshot of a video released by iranian media
Illustrative photo: presentation launch of an iranian Shahed-136 loitering munition / Screenshot of a video released by iranian media

The project is so far just a concept but still deserves attention

Chinese unmanned aerial systems manufacturer Aerospace CH UAV Co Ltd has announced it was working on a family of loitering munitions created on the basis of AR-series air-to-surface missiles.

Such suicide drones would be designed for "super long-range" strikes featuring "new functions", there will be four variants of different weights: 20 kg, 45 kg, 80 kg, and 100 kg, Janes reports citing the Chinese company's statement on Weibo social media platform.

Read more: Hundreds of Thousands Protective Gear and Drones Flow From China Into russia Unrestricted

The authors at Janes also provide an illustrative rendering depicting two potential concepts. One of them looks like none other than a copy of the iranian Shahed-136 but with a jet engine instead of a propeller.

In this context, we should recall the reports from early 2023 suggesting that China could be supplying russia with a copy of Shahed drones, although later these claims found no proof.

Also, Chinese works on jet-powered suicide drones are no news as well. In October 2022, The Drive wrote about China developing the LJ-1 modular decoy UAV which can be adapted into an attack drone with a 40-kg warhead, launched from an N-6 heavy bomber.

Test launch of an LJ-1 swarm from a Chinese N-6 bomber, October 2022
Test launch of an LJ-1 swarm from a Chinese N-6 bomber, October 2022 / Open source photo

Earlier Defense Express pointed out that due to the shortage of Shahed-131/Shahed-136 loitering munitions, the russian federation has set up domestic production of this weapon on its own territory, with the help of iran. The first drones have already come off the production lines and have been used in an aerial attack on Ukraine.

We also analyzed the five key differences between the russian version and the original iranian Shahed.

Read more: The Five Key Differences Between the New Shahed Kamikaze Drones and the Old Version