Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has started contract negotiations on the purchase of a French-built Mistral-class ship, the company's head said on Wednesday.
"Rosoboronexport has been appointed the implementer of the contract on the purchase of a French Mistral helicopter carrier by the [Russian] Defense Ministry," Anatoly Isaikin told RIA Novosti.
"We are carrying everything out strictly within the framework of Russia's legal system. This prescribes going through a number of stages which include the assessment of technical parameters and negotiation process involving the Defense Ministry," he went on.
Isaikin said a number of expert groups had been set up within Rosoboronexport to negotiate the deal with France.
"All the work on this ship is being carried out in close collaboration with the Defense Ministry. This is a joint effort," he added.
Russia is negotiating the purchase of at least one French-built Mistral-class ship and plans to build three more vessels of the same class in partnership with the French naval shipbuilder DCNS.
The Mistral-class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.
The Russian military has said it plans to use Mistral ships in its Northern and Pacific fleets.
PARIS, June 16 (RIA Novosti)