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MOSCOW, December 11, (ITAR-TASS). Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said he would check out information that a new bridge to be built in St. Petersburg may block the passage of Mistral ships to the shipyard where they are to be completed.
“No one has ever raised this question but we will check this out,” Rogozin said at a Government Q&A session at the State Duma, lower house of parliament.
The city authorities suggested that the masts and other large structures aboard ships be dismantled for the vessels to pass under the new bridge and then reassembled and put back in place after the passage to St. Petersburg’s Baltic Shipyard.
Two Mistral-type ships are now under construction at Saint-Nazaire, France, and St. Petersburg, Russia. A possible purchase by Russia of two more ships from France will be considered based on the performance results of the first two.
The warship named Vladivostok is to join the Russian Navy in the autumn of 2014.
The 1.1 billion euro contract for building two Mistral-type ships was signed by the defence exporting company Rosoboronexport and French DCNS in June 2011. The second ship will be named Sevastopol.
The shipyard STX France said earlier it would 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 they will be floated off to be taken to Toulon for completion.
Russian enterprises are also involved in the project. The Baltic Shipyard has laid down the keel of one of the two Mistral ships.
The Baltic Shipyard, which is a part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, laid down the keel of the ship to be named Vladivostok in strict compliance with the approved schedule.
A similar ceremony for the second ship named Sevastopol took place in May 2013.
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.
Russia is buying the French helicopter carrier Mistral with French equipment, including combat navigation devices, but will arm it with its own weaponry.
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.
The first Mistral ship will be delivered to Russia in 2014.