Photo Credit: YouTube screen grab / Old best movies
A Russian Forpost-R combat drone firing missiles in the Zapad 2021 military exercise.

Ukrainian military forces shot down a Russian “Forbost” drone on Friday over the Zhytomyr oblast.

The UAV is a licensed Russian version of the (IAI) Israel Aerospace Industries’ Searcher drone.

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Russia purchased the drones in 2015 in an unusual $400 million deal intended to close Moscow’s technological and operational gap in unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a report by the Hebrew-language Ynet news outlet.

There is also a video showing how the Russian UAV has been converted to a combat drone carrying bombs.

Although Russia then sought to purchase the more advanced Hermes 450 UAV produced by Elbit, Israel’s Ministry of Defense only allowed the purchase of the Searcher 2, which first entered service in the early 1980s.

Russia subsequently began to produce the UAV domestically, at first using IAI components but eventually producing the entire aircraft locally, including its camera system.

The UAV that was shot down on Friday carried the original Israeli camera system produced by IAI, according to the report.

Israel’s Defense Ministry declined to say whether Israel continues to provide technical support for UAVs sold to Russia, Ynet reported.

At present Russian forces are operating more than 100 such combat drones, including in Syria.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.