ZALA AERO GROUP has announced today that it plans to launch a new micro VTOL UAS by March 2012. The development is based on the success enjoyed by the current micro VTOL UAS ZALA 421-21 manufactured by ZALA AERO GROUP since being launched in November 2010.

Currently ZALA 421-21 is being used by emergency services and civil agencies, which require a low cost VTOL UAS for a number of tasks. Most common missions include; crowd patrol, aerial photography, firefighting, infrastructure monitoring etc.

The new UAS ZALA 421-22 development looks to address some of specific requirements faced by a number of end users. Most common of requirements is to have both IR and Video camera onboard, ZALA 421-22’s payload will incorporate both FLIR IR payload (640×480) and video camera (500 TVL).

Another factor that will be addressed by ZALA 421-22 development is the transportation aspect of the VTOL UAS. Currently VTOL UAS ZALA 421-21 is transported in a handheld container with size 80x80x20cm which holds 3 types of payload, spare parts and battery cells.

 Even though ZALA 421-22 will be 20% bigger than the original ZAL 421-21 it will be more transportable as the platform can be folded to fit a tube like container with dimensions 100x15x10cm. This unique feature will make the platform compatible with tube launched fixed wing UAS. Majority of engineers and end users agree that up to 10km a small fixed wing UAS is more efficient and productive than a fixed wing UAV as the platform will use up to 80% of flight time on the actual target compared to 30/50% used a fixed wing UAV. While having additional capabilities such as low level hovering, automatic landing to save battery capacity while still providing real time reconnaissance etc.


ZALA 421-22 will based on a eight rotor construction that weighs 2.0kg and carries a payload of 0.5kg. The vehicle is unique as it allows the operator to launch and autonomously hover the UAV even in built-up areas while concentrating on video reconnaissance/surveillance.

Unmanned System ZALA 421-22 is intended to be operated at altitude 10 to 1000m at a distance f up to 10km from the GCS (Ground Control Station). Vehicle will offer up to 40 minutes flight endurance and because of the unique design is extremely quiet in any environment.

UAV transmits real-time video and photo from on board the platform to the hand-held GCS. UAV can offer extended endurance by being able to land autonomously at a set position and continue surveillance in economic mode while still transmitting real-time video.

Payload capacity of ZALA 421-22 allows the operator to have one payload combining video and IR for any type of mission. The UAV is fully autonomous which requires minimal operator input and semi-autonomous mode will be available for use inside buildings. Easy applic­ation and transportations are key elements that thi­s platform offers.

ZALA 421-22 will be compatible with other ZALA UAS and is part of ZANET development.

By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.