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Sukhoi Zond (Series)

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

The Sukhoi Zond series of UAVs will cover a spectrum of useful communications relay and environmental monitoring roles for Russia.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 11/9/2016
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Year: 2015
Manufacturer(s): Sukhoi - Russia
Production: 0
Capabilities: Special Forces; Unmanned;
Crew: 0
Length: 42.65 ft (13 m)
Width: 114.83 ft (35 m)
Height: 18.04 ft (5.5 m)
Weight (MTOW): 26,455 lb (12,000 kg)
Power: 1 x turbofan engine (Zond-1; Zond-2) OR 1 x propeller engine in pusher configuration (Zond-3).
Speed: 155 mph (250 kph; 135 kts)
Ceiling: 49,213 feet (15,000 m; 9.32 miles)
Range: 7,456 miles (12,000 km; 6,479 nm)
Operators: Russia
The Zond family of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is being developed by Russian mainstay Sukhoi OKB. The family consists of the Zond-1, Zond-2 and Zond-3 - each charged with varying non-military roles. The Zond-1 will primarily be used in communications relay and transmission of television signals at low-to-medium altitudes (up to 18,000 meters) through a radar and Phased Array Antenna (PAA) and TV link relay suite. The Zond-2 will undertake environmental monitoring tasks related to the earth's surface and upper atmosphere utilizing a sideways-looking synthetic aperture radar system, infrared and television monitoring at medium-to-higher altitudes (up to 24,000 meters). The Zond-3M is scheduled as something of a combination of both preceding Zond vehicles - monitoring environmental and atmospheric events and changes as well as communications relay. The Zond-3 will be dimensionally smaller when compared to the full-sized Zond-1 and Zond-2 series vehicles and be designed for operations at altitudes below 12,000 meters

Design of all three air vehicles will be largely the same save for a few notable physical differences. All versions will sport a Global Hawk-type nose profile with low-mounted straight-set wings with clipped tips. The Zond-1 and Zond-2 will sport a maximum take-off weight of 12,000kg compared to the Zond-3's 2,000kg MTOW. The Zond-1 and Zond-2 will also share the same empennage assembly, featuring a pair of outward-canted vertical tail fins in a Vee arrangement. The Zond-3 will be given a similar assembly though of an inverted Vee design. The Zond-1 will sport a triangular radar assembly on a strengthened support along its fuselage spine. The Zond-2 will be characterized by its fuselage underside assembly which will promote a deeper profile appearance. Unlike the Zond-1 and Zond-2 models, the Zond-3 will be powered by a lighter propeller-based powerplant set in the pusher configuration. The Zond-1 and Zond-2, comparatively, will feature a (presumed) turboshaft engine within the fuselage and side-mounted air intakes. It is assumed that all three designs will make use of a retractable undercarriage.


None. Fitted with a payload of antenna, communications equipment, relay systems, electro-optical systems, infrared, synthetic aperture radar and similar.

Variants / Models

• Zond-1 - Communications relay/TV transmissions; triangular radome on fuselage spine; Vee-style tail assembly.
• Zond-2 - Radar-equipped; IR/TV systems; atmospheric surveillance; Vee-style tail assembly.
• Zond-3 - - Radar-equipped; IR/TV systems; atmospheric surveillance; communications relay systems; inverted Vee-style tail assembly.
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