Attempts by Russian companies to sign co-venture agreements with Israeli UAV manufacturers have been met with opposition by the US administration. Moscow previously had purchased 10 Searcher 2 and 30 BirdEye-450 UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), with these having been partially assembled in a Russian plant. However, Washington’s opposition to the cooperation would have led to them vetoing any potential export licenses should a more formal agreement go ahead.
Israel steps back from fresh UAV deals with Russia
15 April, 2016 BY: Arie Egozi Tel Aviv
Washington has vetoed any further sales of Israeli-made unmanned air vehicles to Russia.
For several months Russian companies have contacted Israeli manufacturers in an attempt to reach joint venture agreements. However after checking with the Israeli defence ministry about the potential of formalising any such pact, it became obvious the US administration would be very strongly opposed, and would veto any export license. Further discussions have been halted as a result.
Moscow has previously purchased 10 Searcher 2 and 30 BirdEye-450 UAVs from Israel Aerospace Industries, with these having been partially assembled in a Russian plant. Some of the air vehicles – mainly of the former model, dubbed “Forpost” in national service – have been used by Russian forces in Syria.
Searcher 2 UAV
|The Searcher Mk II is a multi mission tactical UAV system used for surveillance, reconnaissance, target acquisition, artillery adjustment and damage assessment.
The Searcher Mk II system main features and capabilities are:
BirdEye 400 has a 2.2m (7.2ft) wingspan and a maximum take-off weight of 5.6kg (12.3lb). Powered by an electric propulsion system, which reduces the air vehicle’s noise signature and audio detection probability, the type has a maximum speed of 45kt (83km/h) and an operational range of 5.4nm (10 km).
Each system comprises three of the UAS – which carries an IAI MicroPop electro-optical/infrared sensor – a ground control unit and a satellite datalink. An automatic flight control system manages take-off and landing, and can manage recovery of the aircraft if the communication link with its ground control unit fails.
IAI has previously exported the BirdEye 400 to a number of counties, including Russia, where Oboronprom partnered with the company for a $400 million contact signed in 2011 that also included other types of UAS. According to Russian press reports, at least 12 BirdEye systems were included in the deal. @flightglobal.com