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No talks on helicopter supplies to Egypt until Russian Mistral equipment is dismantled

November 09, 2015, 14:47 UTC+3 DUBAI
As soon as the equipment is dismantled Russia will be able to offer both equipment and Kamov Ka-52K Katran reconnaissance and attack helicopters
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© Sergei Bobylev/TASS

DUBAI, November 9. /TASS/. Russia and Egypt may launch substantive negotiations on the supplies of Kamov Ka-52K Katran reconnaissance and attack helicopters for the Mistral class helicopter carriers only after the dismantlement of Russian equipment from the warships is completed, head of Rostec State Corporation Sergey Chemezov said on Monday.

The equipment dismantling operation is being conducted in France and is to be completed before the end of November. Since the equipment has not been removed, Russia has not yet received an official request from Egypt for the purchase of the helicopters, Chemezov said at the Dubai Airshow-2015 international aerospace exhibition.

"Egypt has not yet made the request because our equipment has not been dismantled yet from the Mistrals. As soon as the work is over, we’ll be able to offer both our equipment and our helicopters," he said. "The dismantlement is carried out jointly by our and French specialists," the Rostec chief said, without specifying the timeframe for the work completion.

The aggregate value of the dismantled equipment exceeds $10 million. In October, the first batch of the Russian-made equipment was removed from the helicopter carriers and sent to Russia - it comprises combat information management systems and missile weapons and artillery control systems. The communications systems will be next.

Egypt signed a contract on October 10 for purchasing two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships from France, which had been built for Russia. The ships are expected to be delivered to the new customer together with landing boats in the summer of 2016. A group of Russian specialists has been dismantling the Russian-made equipment from the helicopter carriers in France since late September. The DCNS Company that built the ships said that the equipment would be dismantled completely by the end of the year.

Previously, Russian president’s chief of staff Sergei Ivanov said that Russia was planning to supply equipment and helicopters for the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships that Egypt is buying from France and that the deal might exceed $1 billion.

According to the CEO of the Russian arms exporting company Rosoboronexport, Egypt has not addressed it yet to purchase Kamov Ka-52 helicopters (NATO reporting name: Hokum-B) and the equipment being dismantled from the Mistral-class helicopter carriers at the moment.

Russia planned to use Kamov Ka-52K helicopters on board the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships before cancelling the contract. A source in the sphere of military and technical cooperation with foreign states told TASS on October 20, "Egypt intends to purchase ship-based Kamov Ka-52K Katran helicopters for the Mistral-class ships and is now deciding how many it will order." According to the source, the Russian Navy planned to order 32 helicopters of the type for the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships.

The €1.12 billion contract for the construction of two Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy was signed in June 2011. Under the contract, Russia was expected to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in the autumn of 2014. However, Paris suspended the ship’s handover to Russia at the very last moment over Moscow’s stance on developments in neighbouring Ukraine. It was planned that the second ship dubbed the Sevastopol would be handed over to Russia in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case with the first Mistral ship.

After a long wait, Russia and France in early August reached an agreement to officially cancel the contract. The French government said in a release then, "the President of the Republic believed that it was not wise to increase the threat and to deliver these two ships" in connection with the situation in Ukraine. After the deal cancellation agreement, it was reported that France was selling both of the Mistrals, built for Russia, to Egypt. It paid about €950 million back to Russia for the dissolution of the contract, with the compensation including Russia’s advance payments totalling almost €900 million. "This has covered all of the costs sustained by Russia," the source said.

Under the deal, Russia gets the money and Russian equipment installed on the vessels back, and France will then be able to use the warships at its own discretion. French media earlier reported that Paris paid Russia €949 million for the Mistral contract cancelation, and the overall sum of payment exceeded €1 billion.

Rosoboronexport has recently noticed that the Middle East countries are more and more interested in Russian weapons. Thus, in 2014, Russia and Egypt agreed to expand military-technical cooperation. According to experts, the potential contracts’ sum could exceed $2 billion.

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