Russian and French delegations will meet later this month to discuss the possible sale of a French warship, a Russian Defense Ministry source said on Monday.
The chief of the General Staff said last Tuesday that Russia would decide by the end of 2009 whether to purchase a Mistral class amphibious assault ship from France.
The source said Russia was not interested in buying just one warship.
"What is of principal interest is shipbuilding technology that will enable the domestic defense industry to build similar ships. That is our unequivocal and categorical position," he said.
He stressed that it was "senseless and wrong" to speak of buying weapon systems for the Navy without obtaining appropriate advanced technology for their subsequent production in Russia.
"This fully applies to the purchase of helicopter carriers abroad," he said.
The source also said that talks on the purchase of warships of the same class were ongoing not only with France but also with the Netherlands and Spain.
The Defense Ministry said last Wednesday that a final decision should be based on "a thorough assessment of the effectiveness of [French] technology in the framework of domestic shipbuilding program."
Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said in late November that Russia could build its own helicopter carrier on a par with the French Mistral-class warship, and that the Defense Ministry could contract the United Shipbuilding Corporation to build it.
The Russian military earlier announced that it was considering buying one of the Mistral-class ships, worth 400-500 million euros (around $600-$750 mln), and potentially building three or four vessels of the same class in partnership with the French naval shipbuilder DCNS.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 soldiers. The vessel is equipped with a 69-bed hospital and can be used as an amphibious command ship.
Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase.
Russia's current arms procurement program through 2015 does not provide for construction or purchases of large warships, so the acquisition of a French warship is more likely under a new program, through 2020, which has yet to be developed.
MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti)
The fact of registration and authorization of users on Sputnik websites via users’ account or accounts on social networks indicates acceptance of these rules.
Users are obliged abide by national and international laws. Users are obliged to speak respectfully to the other participants in the discussion, readers and individuals referenced in the posts.
The websites’ administration has the right to delete comments made in languages other than the language of the majority of the websites’ content.
In all language versions of the sputniknews.com websites any comments posted can be edited.
A user comment will be deleted if it:
The administration has the right to block a user’s access to the page or delete a user’s account without notice if the user is in violation of these rules or if behavior indicating said violation is detected.
Users can initiate the recovery of their account / unlock access by contacting the moderators at email@example.com
The letter must contain:
If the moderators deem it possible to restore the account / unlock access, it will be done.
In the case of repeated violations of the rules above resulting in a second block of a user’s account, access cannot be restored.
To contact the team of moderators, write to firstname.lastname@example.org