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MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Russia has started forming a group of specialists to go to France to dismantle communications equipment from the Mistral helicopter carriers, a source in the Russian defense and industrial sector said on Saturday.
"This task has been formulated and now a group of specialists is being formed to go to France to dismantle the control and communications equipment aboard the Mistrals delivered by Russia," the source said.
This equipment is universal and can be used aboard other Russian Navy ships, the source said.
The 1.12 billion-euro 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 neighboring 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.
Russian presidential aide for military and technical cooperation Vladimir Kozhin earlier told TASS Russia was discussing only the sum of compensation for France’s refusal to deliver the amphibious ships and a final document would be signed soon.
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 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.