17 June 2011, 20:01

Russia acquires French copter carriers

Russia acquires French copter carriers

Under a contract in St Petersburg Friday, France becomes the first NATO country to sell military hardware to Russia. The purchase is worth a billion and 120 million euros and consists of two Mistral-class assault ships, one for deployment in the Russian Far East, and the other, in the Russian Arctic.

Under a contract in St Petersburg Friday, France becomes the first NATO country to sell military hardware to Russia.

The purchase is worth a billion and 120 million euros and consists of two Mistral-class assault ships, one for deployment in the Russian Far East, and the other, in the Russian Arctic. Each measures 210 in length, displaces 21 thousand tons and can travel to 20 thousand nautical miles at speeds of up to 18 and a half knots. Each carries 160 crew and can also carry 450 assault troops, 13 battle tanks or 70 army trucks and as many as 16 attack helicopters. The ship’s flight deck accommodates six of these.

Importantly, the ships go together with licenses on French military technology on them. Both will be constructed and launched in Saint-Nazaire and outfitted by naval shipbuilders in Russia. Russia’s contribution in cost terms will amount to 40 percent.

Further on, there will be two more Mistral-class ships, both built and launched in St Petersburg in cooperation with South Korea.

The Russian defence analyst Dr Ruslan Pukhov comments on the significance of the Mistral deal:

"The only countries with Mistrals in their navies will be France and Russia. This should make for a special relationship in everything that concerns naval technology. Importantly, each Mistral will lead a group which also includes several destroyers, frigates, corvettes and tugboats. All these ships, together with the copters on the Mistrals, will be supplied by Russian companies."

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