France agrees to supply full-spec Mistral ships

France and Russia have agreed that the Mistral-class helicopter carriers France will build for Russia will be fully equipped with the communication and control systems, a senior official in Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.

“Russia has reached an agreement with France that meets the Defense Ministry’s demand to provide Mistral with the communications and other systems that would satisfy the requirements of the Navy,” the source said.

Russian Vedomosti business daily had previously said the Mistral talks were close to collapse since the Defense Ministry could not agree on the complete set of ships’ communications and control systems.

The Defense Ministry official said that Russian-French intergovernmental agreement on the purchase of two Mistral ships included the delivery of the helicopter carriers with the Zenith 9 communication and control system as well as the spare parts for the ships and technical documentation.

Russia and France signed an intergovernmental agreement in January to jointly build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Another two are to be built later at the Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg.

The estimated price for the first two French-built ships ranges from 980 milllion euros to at least 1.15 billion euros.

The Mistral class vessel is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

Russia plans to deploy the first two Mistral ships in the Pacific to protect the four Kuril Islands, which Russia has disputed with Japan since World War II.

MOSCOW, April 13 (RIA Novosti) 


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