Russia, Israel Sign $400mn Drone Deal

Israel has signed a $400 million deal to sell unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to Russia and provide it with assembly components and servicing for the spy planes.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said on Wednesday that it has signed a UAV contract with the Russian defense firm OPK Oboronprom, Ria Novosti news agency reports, quoting a statement posted on the company’s website.

According to IAI, the deal will be implemented in 2011.

The three-year contract, estimated to reach $400 million in worth, was inked in the presence of the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Viktor Khristenko.

An Israeli defense industry official said the agreement signed in Israel on Tuesday allows for the drones to be assembled in Russia, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz said on its website.

The deal is not the first military pact between Tel Aviv and Moscow, which is seeking to upgrade its combat and reconnaissance aircraft equipment by signing contracts with European companies and Israel.

Under another $50 million deal with Russia in April 2009, Israel delivered two Bird Eye 400 systems, eight I View MK150 tactical UAVs and two Searcher Mk II multi-mission UAVs.

A second contract, worth $100 million, was also signed for the purchase of 36 UAVs, which is to be delivered later this year.

Additionally, Russia and Israel have been negotiating to establish a joint $300 million venture to produce UAVs.

In September, Israel threatened to revoke much of the UAV deals it had signed with Russia over Moscow’s decision to supply Yakhont naval missiles to Syria.

(Press TV)

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