Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his French counterpart, Nicolas Sarkozy, agreed on Thursday that a contract on the purchase of four Mistral class helicopter carriers for Russia will be signed in 15 days.
"We have reached a final agreement that this contract will be signed in 15 days. Two helicopter carriers will be built in France and two more in Russia," Sarkozy said after talks with Medvedev.
He said that all controversial issues of the contract had been sorted out.
"We have agreed that this contract will be signed in the near future. Our talks have been completed," Medvedev said.
"This [the Mistral deal] will help the development of bilateral ties," he added.
Russia and France in January signed an intergovernmental agreement to jointly build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Another two are planned to be constructed later at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg.
However, contractual talks on the purchase of Mistral warships had come to a dead end over Russia's demands on the transfer and licensed production of sensitive electronics.
Mistral class ships are equipped with a NATO-standard SENIT-9 naval tactical data system and SIC-21 fleet command system. France was strongly opposed to delivering the SENIT-9 to Russia with a production license, and apparently did not want to deliver the SIC-21 at all.
The price of the four-ship deal is estimated at 1.5 billion euros.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.
France has two Mistral class amphibious assault ships in service and is building a third one.
DEAUVILLE (France), May 26 (RIA Novosti)