Sunday, December 26, 2010
France wins tender to build warships for Russia
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy over the phone that France has won a tender to build amphibious assault ships for Russia.
The winner is a consortium comprised of French DCNS and Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), the Kremlin press service said.
At the initial stage, two Mistral-class helicopter carriers will be built jointly by France and Russia with another two to be constructed later in Russia.
Russia will perform 20% of the construction work at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, USC spokesman Igor Ryabov said.
"Subsequently the share of the project's localization in Russia will increase," he said.
Russia has been in talks with France on the purchase of Mistral-class warships on a 2+2 scheme whereby Russia will buy one or two French-built Mistrals and build another two under license at home.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.
The Russian military has said it plans to use Mistral ships in its Northern and Pacific fleets.
Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase, and some believe that Russia simply wants to gain access to advanced naval technology that could be used in the future in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.