MOSCOW, February 17. /TASS/. Ongoing construction of the second Mistral-type helicopter carrier at the Saint-Nazaire shipyards give hope that the French side will finally fulfill its obligations under the contract with Russia, a Rostec executive said on Monday.
"We know that the first Mistral ship has not been handed over to Russia whereas another ship is being built. It gives hope the problem will ultimately be solved. We hope for a positive outcome," Dmitry Shugayev, deputy director general for foreign economic cooperation of Russia’s state corporation Rostec, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station.
He said he did not think France was happy over this situation around the Mistrals. "It shows our French partners in a disadvantageous light," he noted.
He did not rule out India’s refusal to buy French-made Rafale fighters might be stemming from the situation over the Mistral.
The contract for the construction of two Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy to a sum of 1.12 billion euro was signed in June 2011. The first such ship that was given the name Vladivostok was launched in October 2013 and was to be handed over to Russia in November 2014. But at the very last moment, Paris suspended the ship’s handing over to Russia for an indefinite time citing Moscow’s stance in regard to the conflict in Ukraine.
Apart from that, it was planned that the second ship - the Sevastopol - would be handed over to Russia in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case of the first Mistral ship. Earlier, Paris repeatedly said that the deal would be closed only when the conflict in southeastern Ukraine was settled.
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 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.