Israel to speed up Russia's UAV order

Move to expedite production of unmanned planes comes after Russia cancels sale of MiG-31 to Syria.

May 24, 2009 00:32
1 minute read.
Israel to speed up Russia's UAV order

Mig 31 248.88. (photo credit: Courtesy)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Israel plans to expedite production of unmanned aerial vehicles for Russia after Moscow announced last week it had decided to halt the sale of advanced MiG-31 fighter jets to Syria, The Jerusalem Post has learned. Under the $50 million deal, signed in April, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will supply Russia with some of its second-tier UAVs, including the Bird-Eye 400 mini-UAV, the I-view MK150 tactical UAV and the Searcher Mk II medium-range UAV. This is the first Israeli sale of military platforms to Russia. Officials said delivery of the UAVs would begin by the end of the year. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin is expected to visit Israel in the coming weeks to get a look at production. At a later stage, the deal is likely to include the sale of IAI's long-range Heron, which is capable of remaining airborne for over 50 hours at altitudes of up to 35,000 feet. Russia's interest in Israeli drones surfaced in late 2008 following the war in Georgia, during which Tbilisi operated Israeli-made drones. At the time, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, visited Moscow and received assurances that Russia would not sell the S300 defense missile system to Iran, and would consider halting the sale of MiG-31s to Syria. Russia was supposed to sell eight MiG-31s to Syria, according to a report in the Kommersant newspaper. The $500m. deal was signed in early 2007, but work on the project was halted in April. The contract was supposed to be the first export deal for the MiG-31E, a heavy twin-engine interceptor capable of flying at nearly three times the speed of sound and simultaneously firing at several targets at ranges of up to 180 km. The aircraft was designed in the 1980s for tackling low-flying cruise missiles and other difficult targets. It was considered a key component of Russia's defense against a possible US attack and remains the backbone of the country's manned air defenses. Syria is slated to receive a number of MiG-29M fighters, a version that features significantly improved range, has better radar and carries a broader array of weapons, compared to the basic MiG-29 model. It was not clear whether this deal was also halted.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town