MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Russia’s defense capabilities will be no way affected by France’s failure to supply Mistral helicopter carriers under a bilateral deal, Yevgeny Lukyanov, Russian Security Council’s deputy secretary, told journalists on Tuesday.
Asked by a journalist whether the failed Mistral helicopter carriers’ deal would have an impact on Russia’s national defense potential, Lukyanov said "definitely not," adding that "it cannot be even considered a loss."
Less than two weeks ago Russian business daily Kommersant reported, citing "sources in the sphere of military and technical cooperation," that Paris had prepared and sent draft documents to Moscow on annulling the inter-governmental agreement on building two Mistral helicopter carriers for Russia and the corresponding contract on these two amphibuous assault ships.
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 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.