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Not by Assault Rifle Alone: Russia's Kalashnikov Arms Maker Rolls Out New Drone

© Photo : ZALA AERO GROUPThe ZALA 421-16Е2 drone
The ZALA 421-16Е2 drone - Sputnik International
A sophisticated surveillance drone developed by the Kalashnikov subsidiary Zala Aero Group is already being mass produced, Kalashnikov Concern spokeswoman Sophia Ivanova said in a written interview with Sputnik.

A visitor reviews an RPK-16 light machine rifle at the Kalashnikov pavilion, at the ARMY 2016 International Military Forum, at the exhibition center of the Patriot Military Park of the Russian Armed Forces in the Moscow Region. - Sputnik International
Sniper Machinegun: Kalashnikov Unveils Universal Weapon for Special Forces
Zala Aero Group, a subsidiary of the world-famous Russian rifle manufacturer Kalashnikov Concern, presented its newest unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicle, the ZALA 421-16E2, at the IDEX-2017 defense exhibition, which recently wrapped up in Abu Dhabi.

In a writtren interview with Sputnik, Kalashnikov Concern external communications director Sophia Ivanova said that the ZALA 421-16E2 is already being mass produced and that this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) will soon be supplied to customers.

"The drone is manually launched with the help of an elastic catapult. It is equipped with an automatic target tracking module and a built-in air shock absorber to protect the UAV during landing. The ZALA 421-16E2 has no analogues in its class of drones," Ivanova said.

The take-off weight of the all-weather, round-the-clock drone is 7.5 kg; it is capable of staying in the air for four hours.

© Photo : ZALA AERO GROUP ZALA 421-16Е2
 ZALA 421-16Е2  - Sputnik International
ZALA 421-16Е2

The payload includes a daytime camera equipped with a 60x optical zoom and a 10x magnification thermal surveillance device.

According to Ivanova, the UAV's built-in inertial system, electronic telemeter and self-checking sensors provide the drone with full autonomy from GPS/GLONASS satellite navigation systems.

The UAV can be operated with the help of a real-time controller, with multi-channel encrypted communication and data transmission adding significantly to the drone's protection, she said.

Ivanova added that the  ZALA 421-16E2 has, to date, conducted more than 1,000 sorties and that it was approved to hit the shelves in early January 2016.

Presentation of the new Kalashnikov Concern brand - Sputnik International
Russia’s Kalashnikov Concern Developing New Modifications of Sniper Rifles
Kalashnikov Concern, founded in 1807, is one of the largest weapons manufacturing companies. The company's best known product is the Kalashnikov assault rifle, which is used in service of over 100 countries.

In 2015, Kalashnikov Concern CEO Alexey Krivoruchko announced his company's plans to produce drones, which he said would be used for border control, reconnaissance and special missions.

He said that the company is also planning the development and production of UAVs for the purposes of monitoring emergency situations and dangerous objects, as well as  geodetic research in harsh climate conditions.

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