The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has proven itself in warfare and humanitarian actions actively across the last two decades. An evolution of the basic approach in design has been seen during that period with ever-smaller units being able to accomplish ever-greater feats in the skies. "Drone" aircraft can carry out a plethora of over-battlefield roles these days - either under human command through autonomous action - including intelligence-gathering, reconnaissance of enemy positions/strengths, delivery of medical goods, and identification of enemy combatants or survivors.
The hand-launched ZALA "421-08" UAV serves the modern Russian Army primarily in the reconnaissance role. It features a take-off weight of just 5.5lb, a wingspan of 2.66 feet, and an operating range out to 18.65 miles. The aircraft has a mission endurance window of just over 1.5 hours and can reach operating altitudes of 6,560 feet.
Its lightweight design makes it man-portable in-the-field and the system's reliance on an electrical powerplant makes for a low acoustic signature when operating close to enemy forces. The airframe consists of single-piece construction for strength and can operate in all-weather environments, carrying its all-important optics set under the bended-wing body design (payload rating is up to 0.66lb). A two-bladed propeller unit is seated at the nose. Navigation is handled through traditional INS means with an SNS (GPS/GLONASS) correction system for accuracy. The unit can be hand- or elastic catapult-launched into action in minutes and is recovered by way of parachute or airbag for reuse.
The 421-08 model series by ZALA Aero Group includes the 421-8M. The company produces a complete line of UAV/UAS solutions (as well as anti-drone offerings) for various roles and includes the ZALA "GEO" and ZALA "Drone Delivery" (ZDD) models. A complete lineup is available at their website https://zala-aero.com/en/.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
Aircraft inherently designed (or later developed) with an unmanned capability to cover a variety of over-battlefield roles.
1.3 ft (0.41 m)
2.6 ft (0.80 m)
2 lb (1 kg)
4 lb (2 kg)
+2 lb (+1 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the base ZALA 421-08 production variant)
1 x Electric engine driving a two-bladed propeller at the nose.
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