Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said Tuesday it had signed several contracts with the French defense firm Thales on the transfer of technology and delivery of communications equipment for Russian armored vehicles.
"The first contract involves transfer of technologies to Russia, which now will have the right to produce officially licensed thermal imagers at Vologda Optical and Mechanical Plant," said Igor Sevastyanov, Rosoboronexport deputy director general.
"The second contract provisionally allows Russia to bring in communications equipment for integration into Russian armored vehicles for testing," Sevastyanov said. He added that the communications equipment would be mounted on T-90 tanks and BMP-3 armored personnel carriers.
Rosoboronexport did not specify the sum of the contracts.
The plant in the city of Vologda in central European Russia will assemble the Thales-developed thermal imaging cameras. Localized production will allow Russia to reduce production and maintenance costs by at least 5-10% and manufacture thermal imagers for civilian purposes in the future.
Civilian uses of the thermal imagers could include monitoring the efficiency of thermal insulation and detection of heat leaks, among other applications.
Russia may only be able to export thermal imagers produced at its plant with the permission of the French authorities. The list of potential customers will exclude so-called rogue states such as Iran.
According to experts, Russia is lagging 20-30 years behind the West in many areas of technological progress and has recently started attempting to close the gap by purchasing production licenses abroad.
PARIS, June 15 (RIA Novosti)