First two Mistral class helicopter carriers built by French shipyards for Russia will be handed over to Pacific Fleet (PF), reported Wednesday RIA Novosti referring to a source in Russian defense ministry.
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev meeting with defense minister Anatoly Serdiukov and minister of regional development Viktor Basargin underlined the necessity to provide military units deployed in the Kurils with advanced arms in order to secure Russia's outposts. Defense ministry will analyze demands for new arms till the end of February, Serdiukov said.
"After completion and commissioning of Mistral class ships, it is planned to station them at Pacific Fleet", said the source in defense ministry.
Besides, significant funds will be invested in infrastructure of military camps located in Eastern Military District.
"A division deployed at the Kurils archipelago has not been transformed during military reforms in Russia. It is planned to re-equip and re-arm the division with advanced weapon systems", said the interviewee.
The top-ranking Navy's official explained to RIA Novosti that the decision to deploy two Mistrals at Pacific Fleet was dictated by the significance of the region and the necessity to protect extended sea lanes from Kamchatka to the Kurils.
In addition, operational strength of Pacific Fleet has not been renewed for a long time, said the official. "Unfortunately, wear and aging are typical problems for all Russian fleets, especially for PF", said the interviewee.
We recall that the Central Navy Portal reported about possible basing of Mistrals in Vladivostok on Jan 12.
Late in Dec 2010 Russia and France officially declared that the consortium consisting of United Shipbuilding Corporation (Russia) and DCNS (France) would construct two Mistral class ships in Saint-Nazaire (France) and other two – in Russia under license. Russian defense ministry issued the appropriate tender in Oct 2010. Russian vice premier Igor Sechin and French defense minister Alain Juppe signed an appropriate intergovernmental agreement late in Jan 2011.
RIA Novosti reported in Dec 2010 referring to a source involved in negotiations that the first Mistral class ship for Russia would be constructed in France late in 2013 (early in 2014), the second one – late in 2014 (early in 2015). Russia's participation in the building of the first Mistral will be 20%, the second one – 40%. Two other ships are to be constructed in Russia under French license.
Provisionally, the first ship would cost EUR 720 mln, the second one – EUR 650 mln. In Russia, the ships will be constructed in Kronshtadt at newly built yards of Admiralteyskie Verfi.
Assault landing ship Mistral has displacement of 21,000 tons; overall length is 210 meters; speed is over 18 knots; operational range is up to 20,000 miles; crew is 160 men plus 450 marines. Air wing consists of 16 helicopters; six of them can be simultaneously placed on the flight deck.