Kazakhstan bids for Israeli role in Baikonur, Russia buys Israeli drones

Kazakhstan is negotiating for Israel to launch its communications satellites from Baikonur to help turn this space launching facility into a going international business venture long term.
debkafile‘s military sources report that Russia, which built the satellite launching station in 1955 for its own use, does not object, because it is constructing a replacement cosmodrome on its own soil and also developing its own military and aviation industrial ties with Israel.
Tuesday, April 7, the Russian Kommersant, which focuses on Russian arms deals in the Middle East, including Iran, reported that Moscow has bought its first unmanned aerial vehicles from Israel. The initial purchase was for $50 million worth of the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Bird-Eye 400 for escorting ground units and surveillance, I-View MK150 – a short range UAV system intended for operation with medium tactical echelon levels, and Search MK II, an unmanned air vehicle armed for combat (UCAV).
According to the paper, “The value of the first deal is not so large… but what is important is… the fact that domestic military customers have turned to a foreign supplier… This will not end with a single purchase,” says Kommersant.>
The paper explains that Moscow went shopping for drones in Israel after Georgia made effective use of Israeli drones in last year’s war, while Russia’s homemade products were inferior.
Our military sources report the Russians are building a new center for all their manned space programs within their borders in the Pacific northeast at Amur, Vostochny, near their border with China. It will be operational by 2015 and Moscow hopes it will also serve Beijing.
At that point, Moscow will abandon Baikanur. The new Central Asian nation is therefore bidding for Israel to step in as a partner, hoping to use its technology and business connections with space-age nations, like India, to run Baikonur as a going concern. Israel’s space agency and air force may also find it more convenient to launch satellites and missiles from the Kazakh site than from its own base at Palmachim on the Mediterranean.
The Kazakh bid took Israel by surprise. Israeli sources have not commented on the negotiations which are still at an early stage. A Kazakh source noted that if a deal is worked out, Russian and Israeli space and technical teams will have to dovetail at Baikonur for at least five years until Moscow’s own space city is ready to go.

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