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Russia, Israel to jointly produce spy drones

Russian military’s Pchela-1 drone

MOSCOW (PTI): Russia, which is lagging behind in producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for defence purposes, is planning to set up a joint venture with Israel to produce spy drones.

"We have already bought 15 drones for testing and we do not rule out a joint production of UAVs with Israel," State Technology Corporation CEO Sergei Chemezev was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

The decision was made after Russian Deputy Defence Minister Vladimir Popovkin conceded that domestically developed drones failed to meet requirements after spending funds equivalent to USD172 million on their development.

Russian Air Force commander Col Gen Alexander Zelin said last November that Russian UAVs do not satisfy the requirements in speed, altitude or their specifications.

The Russian military has stressed the need to provide the Armed Forces with advanced reconnaissance systems in the wake of five-day war with Georgia in August 2008, when Tbilisi widely used Israeli spy drones and the effectiveness of Russian military operations was severely hampered by the lack of reliable intelligence.

According to various estimates, the Russian military needs up to 100 UAVs and at least 10 guidance systems to ensure effective battlefield reconnaissance.

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