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    AZOV (ROSTOV REGION), October 16 (RIA Novosti's Sofia Brykanova) - Russian and French space instrument makers plan to start joint production of instruments for automatic spacecraft navigation, Vyacheslav Motin, managing director of the Russian space instrument-making company Kvant said in Azov (southern Russia) following a session of the All-Russian Board of chief designers developing automatic space navigation systems.

    According to him, Kvant's negotiations with the French company Sodern have reached a pre-contract phase.

    "We are now discussing issues pertaining to use of specific production technologies as our production procedures are somewhat different from those employed by the French company," Mr. Motin said. He added that once the two sides have found solution to the above technical problems, they may sign the contract as early as in the first quarter of 2005.

    The companies are going to cooperate on the basis of division of production targets. "We will manufacture the mechanical and optical elements, with the French side producing the electronics components," Mr. Motin said.

    The instruments assembled in Russia will be sold in the domestic market, those assembled in France - in the international one, he added. In future, "some of the instruments assembled in Russia will be allowed into the international market as well," Kvant's managing director pointed out. He clarified this statement saying that such instruments would be cheaper than their European analogues, meeting, at the same time, all the international quality and precision standards.

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