In an interview with the Russian newspaper Isvestia, the head of the Russian spacecraft manufacturer NPO Lavochkin, Viktor Kharkov announced that his firm had been selected to build five optical reconnaissance satellites under an order worth the ruble equivalent of $2.2 billion, Early satellies will use foreign built hardware for the high resoltion electo-optical imaging payload. Later in the five satellite series this equipment will be produced inside Russia. The subcontractor for this hardware has yet to be announced.
Comment by David Todd: The announcement represents an admission that Russia is no longer at the cutting edge of spacecraft reconniassance. However, affer disagreements with the west over foreign, military and domestic policy (Syria, anti-ballistic systems, political assassinations and the decline in Russia’s democracy) Russia’s relationship with the West has cooled dramaitically. As such, plans for ”spysat technology” deal with Western partners may yet unravel. .