Russia's Ural Works of Civil Aviation (UZGA) has performed the first flight of a locally-assembled Israel Aerospace Industries Searcher II unmanned air vehicle.

During flight tests performed from Yekaterinburg in early December 2012, the type operated "smoothly" despite operations being performed with a ground temperature of about -30˚C (-22˚F), the Oboronprom group company says.

 Searcher II Russia - Oboronprom


Since 2009, Moscow has signed deals worth an estimated $400 million to acquire Israeli UAVs and production know-how. IAI has already transferred technical documentation, components and also provided technician training in support of the pact, UZGA says.

Under the existing agreements, Russian industry will take on an increasing role during the production of Searcher II and IAI BirdEye-400 air vehicles for use by the nation's armed forces.

Russia has also shown interest in acquiring more capable systems, such as the IAI Heron, or jointly developing new equipment with Israeli industry, although its relations with the governments in Iran and Syria have complicated such discussions.

Source: Flight International