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Russians test drone aircraft

MOSCOW, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- The Russian military is testing Russian-made drone aircraft, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

The tests were carried out in the central Nizhny Novgorod region, RIA Novosti reported.

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Russian manufacturers have made "significant progress" in drone design after initial failures in field tests, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said.

Russia bought 12 Israeli-built drones for $55 million and is training 50 servicemen in their operation, the Defense Ministry said earlier this month. A second batch of 36 of the unmanned planes, worth $100 million, is to be delivered by Israel later this year.

Russia and Israel are negotiating a $300 million joint production venture.

Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said in April Russia had spent $172 million on developing its own drones.

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