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Russian Navy to Form Marine Battalions for Mistral Ships

Russian Navy to Form Marine Battalions for Mistral Ships 04.10.2012
Text: Amitel
Photo: amic.ru
In 2013, Russian defense ministry will form new marine battalions to be based on Mistral-class assault landing ships. American experience was taken as a basis for the new battalions, a source in Russian Navy Main HQ told Izvestiya newspaper.

"Each marine battalion will comprise three companies, a mortar battery, reconnaissance, antitank, and antiaircraft platoons, and logistic support units", said the interviewee.

As for him, helicopter-lift landing will be a mission for the first company. It will be equipped with small arms, machineguns, and grenade launchers. Prior to the landing, this company will be supported by mortar, antitank and antiaircraft missile fire.

The second company will land ashore by prospective amphibious armored vehicles Kurganets-25 or BMP-3F.

"Such vehicle must be capacious enough, have long floating endurance and good buoyancy, just like American amphibious vehicle AAVP-7", explained the interviewee.

The third company will be delivered ashore by Zodiac-type motorboats. Except for that, marines of that company will inspect suspicious vessels, and intercept pirate boats. With this end in view, personnel of the third company will be trained in accordance with requirements to Russian Navy special force.

Navy command plans to establish one battalion for each Mistral in all three marine brigades and two regiments.

According to military historian Dmitry Boltenkov, such battalions will realize all capabilities of Mistral ships in full.

"In Soviet times, landing units were selected randomly. They needed team-building drills and additional combat training course. But now landing parties will consist of well-trained personnel perfectly aware of the ship's design and landing methods on particular amphibious vehicles", Boltenkov told Izvestiya.

As for him, new battalions will make possible to apply Mistral ships both in global war and in local conflicts. Besides, the French helicopter-carriers can be used in anti-piracy operations and evacuation of Russian citizens from countries at war.

Mistral is an amphibious assault landing ship operated by French Navy. Such ship is used for sealift delivery of military units, helicopters, and may execute functions of command ship or floating hospital. The 1,800-sq m hangar accommodates 900 marines and sixteen 12-ton helicopters.

In Jan 2011, Russia and France signed the contract for construction of 4 Mistral-class helicopter carriers for Russian Navy. According to the document, two of them will be built in France, other two are supposed to be manufactured in Russia under license. Construction of the first ship named Vladivostok started on Monday, Oct 1 at Baltiysky Zavod in St. Petersburg.

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