TechRussian forces lose crucial reconnaissance drones in critical areas

Russian forces lose crucial reconnaissance drones in critical areas

A Zala-421 drone of the Russians before being hit by the Ukrainians
A Zala-421 drone of the Russians before being hit by the Ukrainians
Images source: © Youtube | Militarny
Norbert Garbarek

7 July 2024 12:43

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have lost Zala 421 reconnaissance drones in two directions on the front, reports the Military portal. The Russians used both units to guide allied systems in shelling Ukraine.

Uncrewed aircraft are becoming an increasingly important element on the 21st-century battlefield. For this reason, both sides of the conflict regularly use them to strike enemy positions. Usually, however, these are kamikaze drones with one task after launch – to reach the target and explode. This scenario allows both sides of the conflict to destroy even heavily armoured units.

Not just attack drones

However, kamikaze drones are not the only ones present on the front. There are also reconnaissance drones, which are generally not equipped with explosives but pose a massive threat because they are used for aerial observation. Thanks to their built-in cameras, they usually offer high-quality images.

These tools can remain airborne for long hours and continuously transmit data about enemy unit positions to allies. Based on these observations, shelling can then be conducted at specific locations – knowing what equipment the opponent has on the observed terrain.

Russians lose two reconnaissance drones

Reconnaissance drones are in the arsenals of both Ukrainians and Russians. Recently, however, the Russians have added at least two uncrewed aerial vehicles used for terrain observation to the list of equipment lost in their ranks – reports Military. In both documented cases, the drone in question was the Zala-421. The first of these, the destruction of which was recorded on video, was eliminated by a Ukrainian drone. The Russian machine was hit in flight while conducting aerial observation.

The destruction of the second Russian reconnaissance drone, however, was carried out by soldiers from the 77th Independent Airborne Brigade. As in the first case, the exact location where the Russian equipment was shot down is unknown. It is also unclear what weapon the Ukrainians used to shoot down the Zala-421 drone.

Zala-421 unmanned aerial vehicles

Let's recall that the mentioned Zala-421 uncrewed aerial vehicles are of Russian origin (in contrast to the attack Shaheds-136 regularly used in war and which are from Iran). They are powered by a single electric unit that propels this roughly 10-kilogram construction to a maximum speed of about 110 kilometres per hour.

The second of the destroyed Russian Zala-421 drones in recent days
The second of the destroyed Russian Zala-421 drones in recent days© Militarny

The Zala-421 can operate at about 3,500 metres, from where it conducts surveillance of enemy positions. Its range is about 210 kilometres, while its operating radius reaches about 45. The duration of its flight is estimated at up to 4 hours. Naturally, it does not have any armament. Instead, there is a GPS/GLONASS navigation system and a three-axis magnetometer. This set allows for precise observation. A digital SLR camera provides high-quality images with a resolution of at least 18 megapixels and a camera with 20x zoom. There is also a thermal imaging camera.

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