Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) today signed an agreement to sell two satellites to Azerbaijan space agency Azercosmos. A source close to the deal has told "Globes" that the deal involves OptSat500 satellites. According to a report in Azerbaijan in April on the matter, the deal is worth $120 million.
These satellites have a long life and high imaging capabilities. Even before their delivery, IAI, which has extensive cooperation with Azerbaijan with the Harop loitering munitions system and the LORA ballistic missile system, will provide training on the required technology and operation.
Moreover, Azercosmos, the national agency of Azerbaijan that is responsible for the satellites, will develop a long-term cooperation with IAI that will include the establishment of innovation and entrepreneurship centers in the field of space in Azerbaijan, academic training in space technology, as well as the opening of a joint business center.
The two new satellites will replace the Azersky satellite, manufactured by Airbus, which was launched in 2014 but from which communication was cut off on April 20.
In recent years, trade between Israel and Azerbaijan has been expanding, amounted to $1.718 billion in 2022. Since then the momentum has continued as the satellite deal demonstrates.
In June, Azerbaijan Ambassador to Israel Mukhtar Mammadov told "Globes," "The award of the tender to IAI to provide satellites proves that the skies are not the limit in relations between the countries."
A struggle between Israel-Azerbaijan and Iran-Armenia blocs
Only recently, a military operation by Azerbaijan finally defeated Armenia, leading to its final withdrawal from Karabakh. This was achieved using advanced weapons made in Israel, including those by IAI. At the same time, relations between the two countries are based not only on the export of Azerbaijani oil to Israel and the import of weapons from Israel, but also on significant cooperation against Tehran.
Azerbaijan, like Iran, is a Shiite country but secular. Therefore, Tehran is trying to undermine it and develop pro-Iranian militias in its territory without success, partly due to Israeli assistance in monitoring and countermeasures. Beyond that, Iran is Armenia's close friend, and in this way a kind of struggle between blocs between Israel-Azerbaijan and Iran-Armenia has been created.
IAI president and CEO, Boaz Levy said, "For IAI, the sky is not a limit but merely the starting point for our systems capabilities. Our commitment to innovation and exploration motivates us to partner with the foremost experts in the global space community, as we ambitiously shape the future of space observation together. IAI is proud of winning the tender for Azerbaijan, and we are sure that this collaboration will propel us to new heights."
Azercosmos chairman Samaddin Asadov added, "This project is unique for both Azercosmos and Israel Aerospace Industries, and will undoubtedly contribute to the development of space cooperation between our countries. I consider our cooperation to be an important step in the development of human capital and space technologies in the country."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 3, 2023.
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