Oboronprom and Israel Aerospace Industries have signed an agreement which clears the way for the production of Israeli-designed unmanned air vehicles in Russia.

Signed in Israel on 12 October, the partnership will lead to the delivery of "UAV assembly elements and services" to the Russian company, IAI says. "The deal will begin to be implemented during 2011," it adds.

"This is a huge step towards deepening co-operation between IAI and Russian industry," says Itzhak Nissan, the Israeli company's chief executive. "We are proud that Russia has chosen IAI technologies and products," he adds, without revealing which air vehicle types are included. However, the company has previously sold examples of its Bird Eye 400, I-View 150 and Searcher (below) UAVs to Moscow.

 Searcher UAV - IAI
© Israel Aerospace Industries

"The main aim of our project is to develop a centre or competence of world-class unmanned vehicle manufacturing in Russia," says Oboronprom director general Andrey Reus. "In co-operation with IAI we expect to become a major player in the market within the shortest possible time."

Reus says Oboronprom will learn new production methods as a result of the pact, and that it intends to start "gradually replacing foreign elements with components of domestic manufacture." The work will be performed at Kazan Helicopters' plant, according to Russian media reports.

The proposed deal had been under threat last month, amid a dispute over Russian plans to sell anti-ship missiles to Syria. But with an agreement now sealed, Nissan says IAI hopes to broaden its relationship with Moscow to include other future activities, such as in "the commercial market and green energy sector."

Source: Flight International