NEW DELHI, December 24 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will decide on whether to build two Mistral class ships only after evaluating their performance, role and status as part of the Russian Navy, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on Monday.
Russian business daily Vedomosti on Friday cited a government source saying that the Defense Ministry has decided to abandon plans to build two Mistral class amphibious assault ships under French license in Russia.
“I believe it is too soon to talk about it [dropping the construction plans],” Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, told reporters in New Delhi.
“Before that we must take delivery on the first two, see them in action, and only then make the final decision,” he said. “So far, we are on schedule.”
Russia and France signed a $1.2-billion contract for two French-built Mistral class ships, including the transfer of sensitive technology, in June 2011.
The first ship, the Vladivostok, is being built at a DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and should be delivered in 2014, while the second, the Sevastopol, is scheduled for delivery in 2015.
Two more ships were expected to be 80 percent built in Russia, 20 percent in France.
Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation denied Mistral rumors on Friday saying that the option to build two ships in Russia was in force.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.
The French-built ships are expected to be assigned to Russia’s Pacific Fleet.