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Russian Mistral ships to go on combat duty in Pacific in 2015-2016

February 19, 2014, 21:46 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russia’s Mistral-type helicopter carriers Vladivostok and Sevastopol will join the Pacific Fleet in 2015 and 2016, respectively

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Russian servicemen admiring a Mistral-type helicopter carrier (archive)

Russian servicemen admiring a Mistral-type helicopter carrier (archive)

© ITAR-TASS/Vadim Zhernov

MOSCOW, February 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Mistral-type helicopter carriers Vladivostok and Sevastopol will join the Pacific Fleet in 2015 and 2016, respectively, the Fleet’s press service told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, February 19.

“They will go on combat duty in different parts of the world ocean, mainly in the Pacific, including the South Kurile Islands,” the spokesperson said.

Under the contract, each Mistral ship has to be built by France within 36 months. The first of them, the Vladivostok, is to arrive in St. Petersburg from Saint-Nazaire, France, in December 2014. In St. Petersburg it will be equipped with Russian weapons, military hardware and systems.

After that and the crew training, the Vladivostok will sail off to the Pacific Fleet to join it in the second half of 2015.

The second ship, the Sevastopol, will arrive in St. Petersburg in November 2015 to make a voyage to the Pacific Fleet and join it in the second half of 2016.

The crews for the two ships (each consisting of 177 members) and 60 instructors, who will subsequently help the sailors operate the ships, are being trained by French specialists. “The first stage of training began in February of this year … and will continue until the end of May. The second stage will take place from June until October in Saint-Nazaire both onshore and onboard the Vladivostok. The cost of training is included in the contract,” the spokesperson said.

Apart from these two ships, Russia has also purchased French technology for the combat information control and communications systems.

Infrastructure for the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol will be built by the end of September 2015. Their base will be completed in the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok by the end of December 2017.

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.

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