“The contract is being implemented but the exact date of delivery has not yet been set,” the French minister said.
“The situation is as following: the helicopter carrier is to be delivered soon. But, as we know, the DCNS shipbuilding corporation has said that it does not have government permission to export the ship. So, no exact delivery date has been set. Under a contract with Rosoboronexport /the Russian arms trading firm/, the first Mistral ship is to be delivered in autumn 2014 and the second one is to arrive /a year later/ in autumn 2015,” the French defense minister said.
The French president said the decision would be made at the right moment and that he would handle the issue with due responsibility, the minister said."It’s not a simple decision indeed,” Le Drian stressed.
“At present, the contract on the first ship is being implemented normally. There is no need in any additional initiatives,” the French defense minister went on to say.
In late October there were reports saying the French Defense Ministry is set to implement all contract obligations with Russia on the delivery of its Mistral-type helicopter carriers.
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.