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Argument 3. Mistral is ideal for peacekeeping and anti-piracy

01.02.11
Text: Central Navy Portal, Dmitry Mamin
Photo: Mistral class assault landing ship. corlobe.tk
As was declared, Mistral is capable to provide long-term presence of marine force and air support at remote theater of operations; and can be used as a mother ship or hospital ship in emergency zones.

There is a popular belief in certain groups of people that those functions are just what Russian Navy presently needs. Indeed, we intensify activities in the World Ocean, and conduct anti-piracy operations off Somalia. But honestly, there is no much necessity to use landing ship to frighten pirates 16 helicopters and 450 marines are too thick for that, aren't they?

Destroyer class multipurpose ships are quite much adequate for this role. They are large enough, i.e. self-contained, seaworthy and capable to carry helicopter and boarding party. However, it is long since construction of destroyers for Russian Navy was shut down. Keeping on building corvettes, our navy is gradually re-orienting on littoral tasks and has to leave the World Ocean due to some mysterious (or not so mysterious) reasons.

The second function could be useful if only Russia needs to render permanent help for disaster victims on ocean coasts. So far, most of emergency situations happen in Russia far from seas and oceans. It looks impracticable to buy the ship only "for foreigners" and dispatch it to the world's most environmentally hazardous regions. Then this ship would be used by EMERCOM but not the Navy, but Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu would unlikely agree on that his aviation and mobile hospitals would perform these missions faster and better.

Specific peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks mentioned above proceed from the present role assigned to navies of European NATO members which is secondary comparing to the US Navy's one. The Alliance's striking force at sea (as well as on land and in the air) is the US; Americans impose totally different requirements upon assault landing ships. As long as we have no allies capable to fight for our country, Russia must prepare its navy not for peacekeeping and humanitarian operations but for potentially real war. And this brings up the question whether Mistral is adequate to its tasks in case of armed conflict.

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Contents

Mistral sailed away, open issues stay
Argument 1. Our navy has always imported warships
Argument 2. Mistral is a unique command ship
Argument 3. Mistral is ideal for peacekeeping and anti-piracy
Argument 4. Mistral is a 21st century multipurpose warship and just what Russian Navy needs
Argument 5. Mistral is an ideal ship for service in peacetime
Who have got through cataclysm, fall into major pessimism