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Mistral built for Russia goes on new sea trials, delivery still suspended

April 14, 2015, 11:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The Sevastopol will leave the port of Saint-Nazaire for just three days to test the navigation equipment, floating stability and maneuverability
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© Michel Plassart/TASS

MOSCOW, April 14. /TASS/. The Sevastopol Mistral-class helicopter carrier built for Russia is to set out for new sea trials from the French port of Saint-Nazaire on April 14, Russia and France still having about two months to agree on its delivery suspended over Moscow’s stance on developments in Ukraine.

"Maybe some compromise solutions will appear during this time and we will discuss them," the director general of Russia’s chief arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Anatoly Isaykin, said in an interview with the Kommersant daily.

He said the Russian company was ready for any development of the situation, but the terms of the deal and the time frame still offered a chance to find a compromise "without going to law and without making any abrupt moves".

Earlier, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin, said Moscow had not initiated any financial or legal sanctions against Paris for the time being. The Russian Defense Ministry has repeatedly said any "civilized way out of this situation" would suit it.

Emmanuel Gaudez of the French shipbuilding company DCNS said on Monday the Sevastopol would leave the port of Saint-Nazaire for just three days to test the navigation equipment, floating stability and maneuverability. The Sevastopol's previous sea trials held in March lasted for a week.

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 Ukraine.

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 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.

Infographics Mistral helicopter carrier Mistral helicopter carrier
Russia will purchase Mistral-class helicopter carriers from France. Infographics by TASS

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