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Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation ready to build Mistral-class warships

September 24, 2014, 13:23 UTC+3
President of the United Shipbuilding Corporation sees no challenge in the construction of a helicopter carrier
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MOSCOW, September 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) will be able to build, if necessary, the Mistral class helicopter carriers for the Russian Defense Ministry, USC President Aleksei Rakhmanov said on Wednesday.

He said the Baltic Shipyard has already made two stern sections for helicopter carriers the final assembly of which is made in France.

“We can work, we know how to do this,” Rakhmanov said, adding that the hull construction makes only 25 - 30% of a helicopter carrier cost “at best.”

“It’s quite a feasible task,” the USC chief said, referring to the prospects for the construction of Mistral class warships in Russia. “I don’t see any special challenge here, because we are roughly aware of what should be done,” he added.

“The possibility of making orders for two more Mistral ships is a question to the Defense Ministry,” Rakhmanov said.

France refuses to deliver Mistral ship

Paris on Monday said it cannot deliver the first of two Mistral helicopter carrier ships to Russia.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin remarked, that if France decided to transfer the ship to somebody else, it would be unlawfull as one third of that ship is Russian-made.

“The stern section of Mistral was made at Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. That is why if they want to keep the ship, we will have to tear away its stern section and get it back to use it in other ships,” Rogozin said.

Contract not suspended though delivery not possible

French President Francois Hollande said France had not suspended or cancelled the deal with Russia, but the delivery of the ships would depend on how the situation develops in eastern Ukraine which has been gripped by violence and fighting between militias and government troops for months.

Hollande said these conditions were not currently in place there and if the situation deteriorated further, France would delay the delivery again.

Earlier, he assured Russia that his country would fulfill its obligations and hand over the first ship as scheduled but the work on the second one would depend on Moscow’s position on the Ukrainian crisis.

President Vladimir Putin said France will have to return the money paid for the ships if it refuses to deliver them.

Mistral contract

Russia and France signed the €1.2 billion ($1.6 billion) contract for two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011.

Under the contract, each Mistral ship has to be built by France within 36 months. The first of them, the Vladivostok, was to arrive in St. Petersburg from Saint-Nazaire, France, in December 2014.

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


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