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Russia announces tender for purchase of helicopter carriers

RIA Novosti

16:41 26/10/2010 LE BOURGET, October 26 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Defense Ministry has announced a tender for the purchase of amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, a deputy defense minister said on Tuesday.

"We have just announced a tender on the purchase of two vessels and on the transfer of technology for future deliveries," Vladimir Popovkin said at the Euronaval 2010 exhibition, which opened on Monday in Paris.

Popovkin said the tender was not public, and he was unable to reveal details.

"But we have sent proposals to all countries capable of building ships of this class," he said, adding that the deal, based on the results of the tender, would be completed by the end of the year.

Experts said earlier that a French Mistral class amphibious assault ship was most likely to win the tender. However, Ivan Goncharenko, the head of the Russian delegation at Euronaval 2010, said Russia had suspended talks with France.

"There were talks on Mistral, but no longer as of today. We were told that once we announce the tender, the talks must be suspended," Goncharenko said. He did not rule out that the talks could be resumed.

Moscow had been in talks with Paris on the purchase of a Mistral class warship on a 2+2 scheme, whereby Russia would buy one or two French-built Mistrals and build another two under license domestically.

The Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 armored vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 personnel.

The 22nd International Naval Defense & Maritime Exhibition and Conference (Euronaval 2010) is being held at the Paris-Le-Bourget exhibition center on October 25-29.

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