Russian Pilot-Free Aircraft Complete Arctic Test Flights
What are some of the details concerning these test flights?
A-Level Aerosystems, a company based in Izhesk, is the only Russian company that has both developed unmanned helicopters and put them on the market. They have completed the first testing stage for the small helicopter, the ZALA 421-06, and the electric powered ZALA 421-08 mono-wing. The testing was carried out in early July on board a ship docked in the Russian Arctic during powerful winds.
What exactly are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)?
UAVs are unpiloted aircraft that can either be remotely-controlled or fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans. They are used extensively for military purposes including reconnaissance, but are also used in civilian matters such as risky firefighting, police observation of disturbances and crime scenes, and reconnaissance support in natural disasters. UAVs are often preferred for those missions that are considered too “dull, dirty, or dangerous” for manned aircraft.
UAVs come in many shapes and sizes, but the one thing that distinguishes them from missiles is the fact that a UAV is powered by a jet or reciprocating engine while in the case of cruise or guided missiles, the vehicle itself is a weapon that is not reused, even though it is also unmanned and in some cases remotely guided.
What are some details about these two aircraft involved in the testing?
The pilot-free helicopter, ZALA 421-06, has a range of 40km (more than 25 miles) and can stay in the air for up to three hours. Powered by an internal combustion engine, it has a cruising speed of 50 km/hour (31 miles per hour) and a maximum speed of 80 km/h (about 65 mph). It is also fully equipped with infrared cameras that can transfer data to the ground. The ZALA 421-08 aircraft has a maximum flight duration of 90 minutes at speeds ranging from 65-130 km/h (about 50–120 mph).
The future of the UAV remains to be seen. If we are being watched from other more advanced galaxies, are they wondering what we are doing or are they laughing at us?
Time may or may not tell.
M Dee Dubroff