Wednesday, 19 October 2022 — The van says…
The Geran-2 become an increasingly common sight seen over the Ukraine in recent weeks
The article published yesterday examined the smaller drones being used in the Ukrainian conflict and today we will look at the now famous Geran-2 (also known by its Iranian name of Shahed-136) in order to understand why they are being used and the wider results that they are effecting on the war as a whole.
Result of Relations
It is no secret that both Moscow and Teheran hate Washington, and for very good reason. Iran has for decades been persecuted far more harshly than Russia, a previously prosperous nation being degraded and attacked at every opportunity by the West. With a change in global fortunes as well as the forging of new alliances, Teheran now has a brighter future ahead of it than at any time during the last forty years. Couple that with a desire to strike back at those who have attempted to stymie its every effort and the final result has (amongst others) been the Shahed-136 drone that is now terrorizing Ukrainian forces on a daily basis. There are a lot of smoke and mirrors regarding whether all the machines being used by the Russian Federation are manufactured in Iran, yet it can be guaranteed that this venture has been as profitable for Teheran as it has been fruitful for Moscow.
Since it was first deployed in the European theater, the Geran-2 has gained fame on social media for sounding like a moped (and watching it fly, it appears nearly as slow as one), yet where circumstances favor them, mopeds are the ideal tool for billions of people around the world every day. A similar situation has arisen in the Ukraine, the conditions in which they are being employed making them the ideal tool for the operation that the Russian Armed forces have tasked them with.
The Drone Itself
Before we start to look at the role this weapon is playing, we first have to examine what it actually consists of.
At the basest level, it is delta wing drone powered by Mado MD550 piston engine of Chinese manufacture and a single two-bladed propeller in a pusher configuration. Overall it is around eleven feet long and weighs some 450 pounds, a hundred of which are its warhead. It has a cruising speed of 110 miles per hour and an effective range of over a thousand miles. The Iranian version of this machine only uses an inertial guidance system, yet looking at the accuracy they appear to achieve, other systems may have been incorporated for use by Russian forces.
At first glance, two very important things stand out. Not only does this drone have a number of remarkable parallels with the German V-1 of the Second World War, but eighty years later, its performance seems very unremarkable indeed. Whilst the Geran-2 cruises at 110 miles per hour, the V-1 This would appear to make the Geran-2 a failure from the outset, but a number of factors mean that it is actually ideally suited to the conflict currently under way.
Fit for Purpose
Being as portable and easy to launch as this, the Geran is the ideal weapon in unguarded skies
As a slow and technologically backward aircraft, the Geran-2 has proven itself to be of invaluable assistance for a number of reasons.
The first is cost. At an estimated twenty thousand dollars apiece, they are ridiculously cheap compared with technologically more advanced weapons. But with that price, it means that Russia can field hundreds if not thousands of these craft in-theater. Rather than cherry-picking objectives with more expensive missiles and having every Ukrainian anti-aircraft defense launched against it, swarms of Geran can be launched simultaneously, overwhelming any defense against them. The other huge advantage is that Kiev, as has been seen over previous days, has little if any air force or defenses remaining. Recent footage has shown that the only opposition facing these flying bombs over Kiev has been troops firing rifles at them.
Just the Job
Put simply, if air defenses are no great threat and Russia wishes to hit a great number of targets, using a low-budget drone such as the Geran-2 makes very good sense indeed. Recent weeks have ably demonstrated that using these machines in swarms has overwhelmed Ukrainian defenses whilst causing untold woes to Kiev’s infrastructure. The fact that a number of these craft have succumbed to ground fire is acceptable when regarding the damage done in relation to the costs incurred. There is another sting in its tail however, which western observers seem wont to overlook.
The Price of Failure
Other than a few expensive western missiles of dubious efficiency, this is currently as good as it gets when it comes to Ukrainian anti-aircraft fire
As mentioned, a number of these drones have been downed by anti-aircraft systems, mainly of western origin. This may be lauded by the Ukrainian fanboys, yet what they fail to realize is that the largely western-sourced missiles used to intercept the Gerans in flight are actually more expensive than the drones themselves. For as long as NATO states wish to throw unlimited money and resources at Kiev, this presents no problem, yet as the financial black hole that the Ukraine has become gets deeper by the day, an increasing number of people will question why millions are being spent to down flying bombs that cost thousands. Moreover, with those millions of dollars being launched against these craft, it will beg the further question of how can it be that so many of them are continuing to arrive at their targets and cause the crippling damage that they do.
In a Jam
The latest news is that NATO members will be soon be sending hundreds of jamming stations to the Ukraine in the next few days in an attempt to prevent further drone attacks. This is very noteworthy for three reasons, and none favor the West. The first is the fact that the original Shahed-136 was designed as a ‘fire and forget’ inertially-guided craft, meaning that it does not have either a receiver or transmitter, and therefore will be most difficult to jam. The second is that advanced technologies such as these need technicians and operatives who are as advanced as their systems, more westerners being brought in-country as ‘private military contractors.’ The third is that jamming systems take years to develop and are by nature active; adapting a drone to home in on the signals transmitted is a good deal easier and faster, meaning that any successes that Kiev may initially enjoy will soon be soured when the new NATO equipment is destroyed by the same drones they are attempting to destroy. Finally, if member states send that number of units, this creates yet another gaping hole in NATO’s own defenses.
The adoption of an Iranian drone has paid dividends to both Teheran and Moscow. At the same time as Russia is paying hard currency for Iranian know-how, the Ukraine and its allies are paying even more as the Geran-2 proves its worth time and again. Not only does it hit the mark in a most economical fashion, it is beginning to have an effect on the economies of those who oppose it.
In a world of media and headlines, statesmen around the globe pay very close attention to what is really going on rather than what western nations would like them to believe. The successes enjoyed by the Geran-2 have served Russia well, but have also proven to be brilliant publicity for the Iranian arms industry. Since the drones were first used in the Ukraine, twenty two other nations have expressed interest in acquiring them, meaning that Iran can finally forge forward after having the western arms industry point guns at it for so long.
For how long these modern day doodlebugs will remain is anybody’s guess, but with news that other Iranian craft are now being marketed, the decline of the Ukraine and the fortunes of the West which has backed it comes at the same moments that both the Russians and Iranians are finally able to strike back at the enemies that have persecuted them for so long…
One thought on “Flying Flowers”
The USA makes lots of very high tech weapons which are extremely expensive, very delicate and easily damaged and of course need careful skilled workmanship to keep them going. This makes great money for the MIC but is not really suitable in many types of circumstances such as in Ukraine. Money is not everything.