The Russian Defence Ministry has approved the technical design specification for the precision UAV weapon system ZALA Lancet and is expected to kick off trials of the drones at the end of 2021. The Kalashnikov Group announced the news on 25 August at the seventh International “Army-2021” military-technical forum held in Kubinka outside Moscow.
The Lancet drone belongs to the category of loitering air munition, i.e. a weapon system which “loiters” around a target area while in search mode. When a target is found, the “kamikaze drone” strikes it like a guided air-to-surface missile while also destroying itself.
Designed by ZALA Aero, one of the Kalashnikov Group’s companies, the UAV got its name – “the Lancet” – not only due to its exterior design, but also because of its high precision. It has a range of 40 km and can hit its target with “surgical precision,” according to the manufacturers.
The Kalashnikov Group presented the Lancet in June 2019. At that time, the Russian state corporation Rostec outlined the UAV system’s advantages:
• first, the loitering air munition saves time because it is already deployed in the air, ready and waiting to strike the enemy;
• secondly, it’s small, light, and made of plastic and composite materials – it’s therefore “invisible” to traditional air defence radars;
• thirdly, it’s considerably cheaper to strike a target with a kamikaze drone than to destroy…