MOSCOW, March 25. /TASS/. Russian shipyards can build an alternative to French Mistral-type helicopter carriers already by 2020 if the Defense Ministry makes such a decision, Chairman of the All-Russian Movement for the Navy’s Support Mikhail Nenashev said on Wednesday.
Russia’s United Ship-Building Corporation President Alexey Rakhmanov has said the corporation is ready to build domestic alternatives to Mistral helicopter carriers at the Baltic shipyard if the Defense Ministry formulates this task.
"We have been discussing this theme already for about two years. Both the shipyards and the navy have come to the understanding that we can both design and build ships of this class," he told TASS.
The work to design an alternative to the Mistral-class helicopter carrier will take two years, if a relevant decision is made while another three to four years will be required to build ships of this type, he said.
"As for power units, we can also resolve this problem as there is a number of enterprises in Russia that can do engines for ships of this class. Propulsion and rudder systems require certain time, of course, but our enterprises will be able to cope with this task," he said.
At the current moment, Mistral-class helicopter carriers are not needed for the Russian Navy, Nenashev said.
"They [the helicopter carriers] serve the task of expansion and the development of offensive operations in particular regions of the world. But our doctrine doesn’t say a line about offensive amphibious operations using such ships," he said.
The €1.12 billion contract for the construction of two Mistral-type helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy was signed in June 2011.
Under the contract, Russia was expected to receive the first of the two warships, the Vladivostok, in the autumn of 2014. However, Paris suspended the ship’s handover to Russia at the very last moment over Moscow’s stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine.
It was planned that the second ship dubbed the Sevastopol would be handed over to Russia in the second half of 2015. But the deal was suspended like in the case with the first Mistral ship.
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.