LE BOURGET, October 22 (Itar-Tass) —— The shipyard STX France will heave off the first Mistral, an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, being built for the Russian Navy, in September 2013.
The shipyard is building two such ships for the Russian Navy under a subcontract obtained from the main contract under the project awarded to DCNS.
The shipyard is to build 90 percent of each of the ships and then floated off to be taken to Toulon for completion, a shipyard official told ARMS-TASS at the Euronaval-2012 show in Paris on Monday, October 22.
The first ten modules have already been built for the hull of the first ship and the first elements of the hull are being built for the second ship.
Russian enterprises are also involved in the project. The Baltic Shipyard has laid down the keel of one of the two Mistral ships to be built under the Russian-Finnish agreement.
The Baltic Shipyard, which is a part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, laid down the keel of the ship to be named Vkladivostok in strict compliance with the approved schedule.
A similar ceremony for the second ship is scheduled for May 2013. It will be named Sevastopol.
“This is a very important contract for us,” Baltic Shipyard Director-General Alexander Voznesensky said. “It is not so much about money. There is not is much money involved. What it important is that this contract is under the control of the government’s Military-Industrial Commission and it is important for us to show at the federal level that the shipyard has retained its competences and we can work and meet the strict requirements of pur customers,” he said.
Mistral landing helicopter carriers will perform four tasks at the same time: receive helicopters, land troops, act as a command post and a floating hospital.
Each ship will carry a group of 16 helicopters. Six of them can be deployed on the flight-deck at the same time. The cargo deck can accommodate more than 40 tanks or 70 motor vehicles.
The training of Russian crews for Mistral-type ships is provided for in the contract between Russia and France signed last year and no negotiations for a separate contract to this end have been conducted, a source in the Russian defence industry told Itar-Tass earlier.
Russia is buying the French helicopter carrier Mistral with French equipment, including combat navigation devices, but will arm it with its own weaponry.
“We are buying not just a ship. We are buying all the technical documentation for it. It is planned that the third such ship will be built by Russian shipbuilding companies. This is our key condition at the talks on the Mistral,” the official said.
“The Mistral will use our helicopters. But it is necessary to slightly elevate the ship's deck for them. We also plan to use this helicopter carrier in northern latitudes. This will require the ship's boards to be reinforced. But this will not necessitate serious changes in the design or equipping of the ship,” he said.
The Mistral ships will carry upgraded Russian Ka-32 Alligator attack helicopters.
France will transfer a number of sensitive technologies to Russia along with Mistral ships to be purchased by Russia, including the SENIT-9 tactical combat information system installed on the helicopter carriers.
In the future, these technologies will be used in the construction of two other Mistral ships in Russia, Rosoboronexport CEO Anatoly Isaikin said earlier.
“The French side will transfer to us all technologies that have been included in the inter-governmental agreement signed several months ago in Saint-Nasaire. These technologies will then be used for building two similar ships in Russia,” Isaikin said, referring to the SENIT-9 system and “two other systems”.
The first Mistral ship will be delivered to Russia in 2014.