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French Defense Ministry set to deliver Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia — source

October 31, 2014, 15:06 UTC+3 LE BOURGEOT
France's government structures and the French Defense Ministry have different views on implementation on the Mistral contract
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© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov

LE BOURGEOT, October 31. /TASS/. The French Defense Ministry is set to implement all contract obligations with Russia on the delivery of its Mistral-type helicopter carriers, a source in the French delegation represented at the Euronaval 2014 exhibition said on Friday.

“Government structures and the French Defense Ministry view differently the implementation on the contract on the delivery of Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy,” the source said. “The French Defense Ministry, however, insists that the contract must be implemented.”

Earlier, France's STX  shipyard announced that four landing vessels have been placed in the well dock of the Vladivostok helicopter carrier. All the four landing boats are to be handed over to Russia together with the Mistral-class helicopter carrier.

Infographics Mistral helicopter carrier Mistral helicopter carrier
Russia will purchase Mistral-class helicopter carriers from France. Infographics by TASS
Russia-France Mistral contract

The €1.12 billion contract for building two Mistral-type ships was signed by the Russian defense exporting company Rosoboronexport and French DCNS in June 2011.

Under the contract, Russia is to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in October this year. The second Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Sevastopol, is expected to be handed over to Russia next year.

The Mistral-type helicopter carriers have a displacement of 21 tons, the maximum body length of 210 meters, the speed of 18 knots and the range of up to 20,000 miles.

The helicopter carrier can accommodate 450 people in addition to its crew of 180. It carries 16 helicopters, of which six can be simultaneously stored on the flight-deck. A compartment in the cargo deck can accommodate more than 40 tanks or 70 motorized vehicles.

Mistral landing helicopter carriers are capable of performing four tasks at the same time: receive helicopters, land troops, and act as a command post and a floating hospital.

France will have to pay Russia a penalty, if it fails to fulfill the contract.

Russian shipyard capable of building helicopter carriers

Vladimir Bazhenov, the CEO of the St. Petersburg-based Baltic Shipyard, sqaid earlier on Friday at the Euronaval 2014 exhibition that his shipyard was capable of building Mistral-type helicopter carriers ‘without any problems,’ if a decision was made on the construction of the third and fourth such ships in Russia.

Under the contract with France for the delivery of the first two Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, the Baltic Shipyard built the sterns for these ships. The volume of the shipyard’s work on the second Mistral ship was 50% larger than its part of work on the first Mistral, the Baltic Shipyard first deputy CEO said.

“No one should have any doubt: if the option for the third and fourth ships turns into a firm contract and a decision is made to build them on the territory of Russia, the Baltic Shipyard can fulfill this task without any problems,” Bazhenov said.

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