[illustrative] Israel drone 311 IAF.
(photo credit: Courtesy: IAF [illustrative])
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
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
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
Israel’s 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.
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
Russia’s 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.