ST. PETERSBURG, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Navy's first Mistral-class helicopter carrier will be delivered from a French shipyard on time in October, a senior government official said on Thursday, days after another official claimed it would be delayed.
Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who oversees the defense industry, said there will be no hold-ups, refuting remarks on Tuesday by Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov that a Russian shipyard which is making the vessel's stern cannot meet the contracted deadline for it.
“The ship will be ready on time,” Rogozin said, adding it will be fitted out with Russian equipment and weapon systems.
Russia and France signed a contract for two French-built Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. The deal came under fire in January from senior Russian officials including Rogozin, following the dismissal of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, had who actively lobbied for their purchase.
Senior political figures in Russia have lined up recently to criticize the performance of the domestic shipbuilding industry. Earlier this month, President Putin announced the appointment of a new head for Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation, and warned it would have to improve its performance in delivering ships to the Russian Navy on time and budget.