Moscow: Russia has purchased its first unmanned drones from Israel after its own manufacturers turned out to be ineffective at making the high-tech reconnaissance aircraft, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
The deal for an initial purchase of 50 million dollars’ (37 million euros’) worth of drones was concluded in early April with Israel Aerospace Industries, the Kommersant daily said, citing a Russian defence industry source.
“The value of the first deal is not so large… (but) what is important is not the size, but the fact that domestic military customers have turned to a foreign supplier. This will not end with a single purchase,” Kommersant said.
Russia decided to purchase the Israeli company’s Bird-Eye 400, I-View MK150 and Search MK II drones, the newspaper reported, without specifying when the first drones would be delivered.
A defence ministry spokesman declined to comment to AFP about the report.
Moscow began shopping for foreign unmanned aircraft after last year’s war in Georgia. Defence analysts say Georgia made effective use of its Israeli drones in the conflict, while Russia’s home-made drones turned out to be inferior.
Russia is in the midst of an ongoing effort to modernise its military and equip its armed forces with up-to-date technology.