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IRGC confirms specs for Shahed-136 attack UAV

The Shahed-136 displayed at the IRGC exhibition in Qom with the information poster behind it. (Mehr News Agency)

Iran's Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) released performance specifications for the Shahed-136 one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) when it displayed one publicly for the first time in an exhibition in Qom from 13 May.

The poster behind the UAV said it has a range of 2,500 km, which is the same performance that Yemen's Houthi rebels attributed to the Shahed-136 they unveiled as the domestically produced Waeid in March 2021.

The Shahed-136 weighs 200 kg with a 50 kg warhead, according to the IRGC poster, although it did not specify whether this includes the booster rocket that drops off after the UAV is launched from a rail. It identified the UAV's engine as the four-cylinder MD550, which gives it a speed of 185 km/h.

The MD550 is a copy of the Limbach L550 that has been presented as a product of the Iranian company Mado but is also made in China. When the US Department of Treasury added Mado to its sanctions list in October 2021 it said it procured rather than produced UAV engines. However, engines recovered from Shahed-136s in Ukraine had Mado markings on some of their parts, according to Conflict Armament Research.

Another poster next to the Shahed-136 at the Qom exhibition could not be seen clearly in the media coverage but appeared to be a copy of an infographic on the UAV first published by the Iranian news website Islamic World News in January 2022. That gave the Shahed-136's wingspan as 2.5 m and its length as 3.5 m.

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