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ZALA Aero unveils VTOL-capable ZALA 421-16EV mini-UAV

Russian unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) manufacturer ZALA Aero has developed a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) variant of its ZALA 421-16E fixed-wing mini-UAV, the company announced on 21 May.

ZALA Aero has incorporated four electric motors – two on each wing – to provide a VTOL capability to the air vehicle. The new configuration has been designated the ZALA 421-16EV.

ZALA Aero has developed a VTOL-capable variant of its ZALA 421-16E mini-UAV.

ZALA Aero has developed a VTOL-capable variant of its ZALA 421-16E mini-UAV.

According to company specifications, the ZALA 421-16EV can stream HD video at 1,280 × 720 pixel quality for more than 2 hours within a range of 100 km.

The air vehicle can be fitted with a range of electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensors including the in-house Z-16VHD20-IR-TEM video and thermal camera.

The company claims that the ZALA 421-16EV can navigate autonomously using its inertial navigation system (INS) and two independent radio rangefinders.

The VTOL variant is physically comparable to the baseline ZALA 421-16E with a 2.8 m wingspan and shares many of the same performance characteristics including a flight speed of 110 km/h, although it offers a reduced stated endurance of 2+ hours as opposed to 4+ hours. Optimal mission flight altitude has also decreased from 16,404 ft (5,000 m) to 6,561 ft (2,000 m).

Both models have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 10.5 kg and a payload capacity of 1.5 kg. The type is claimed to be able to withstand wind speeds up to 10 m/s and operate in temperature ranges of –40°C to +50°C.

The company stated that the ZALA 421-16EV has completed factory testing and field demonstrations.

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