“I do not see a great need for the ships. They have a limited operation range. They are not defense, but assault ships. For our strategic interests, we have no reasons to suppose that we will land forces somewhere,” Sergei Shishkarev, deputy head of the Russian government’s Marine Board, said.
It is better for Russia to receive money instead of the helicopter carriers, he said.
“In this respect, the French behave consistently in our interests,” he added.
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.
Designing and manufacturing of own universal amphibious assault helicopter carriers is part of Russia's long-term program of naval shipbuilding through to 2050, a high-rank source in the Russian defense sector told TASS earlier.
“The Navy has put construction of Russia’s own amphibious assault ships on a long-term program of shipbuilding for up to 2050 and these plans have been endorsed by the Defense Ministry,” he said. “The document envisions (the emergence of) these ships, many such ships actually.”
The Russian Navy needs universal amphibious assault ships similar to the French Mistrals, or the ships that would be somewhat smaller in size and tonnage. Such ships will be able to solve many more combat tasks than the bid amphibious assault ships of the Ivan Gren type, under construction now.
When TASS asked the source where the Russian helicopter carriers would be designed, he mentioned the Nevsky and Northern Design Bureaus, “as both of them have done important enough exploratory works on universal amphibious ships.”
The Mistral-type helicopter carriers have a displacement of 21 thousand tons, the maximum body length of 210 meters, the speed of 18 knots and the range of up to 11,000 miles.
The crew is 160 members, and in addition it can take on board 450 marines. Each ship is capable of carrying a fleet of 16 heavy and 32 light helicopters. Six of them can be simultaneously deployed on the flight-deck. 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.