IAI embarks on drone-manufacturing venture with Russia (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 12/23/10)
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Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has completed the delivery of a
dozen unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to Russia, paving the way for
the implementation of a joint venture under which Russia will
independently manufacture advanced Israeli drones.
In a $53 million deal signed last year, Israel completed the delivery
of 12 UAVs, including the Bird-Eye 400 and the I-View Mk 150, both
used for close-range tactical missions, as well as the Searcher II
UAV, used for long-range missions.
As part of the deal, IAI trained about 50 Russian pilots at its
headquarters near Ben- Gurion Airport. Russia became interested in
Israeli-made drones following its 2008 war with Georgia, which used
Israeli drones at the time.
Defense officials confirmed that Israel has also decided to allow the
Russians to independently manufacture the Heron 1, one of Israelís
most advanced reconnaissance drones. The Heron 1 is used for
strategic missions and can carry a wide-range of sensors.
The production line in Russia is being established under a $400
million joint venture signed between IAI and Russian defense group
OPK Oboronprom in October.
Israel was initially hesitant about the transfer of advanced Israeli
technology to Russia out of concern that it could be passed on to
countries such as Syria or even Iran.
Russiaís decision earlier this year not to supply Iran with the S300
advanced air defense system which it had ordered several years ago
paved the way for the deal to go forward. (© 1995 - 2010 The
Jerusalem Post. 12/23/10)
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