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Mistral Assault Ships

The Mistral class assault ships represent some of the most advanced military equipment in the Middle East. About 10 countries, including Egypt, were interested as of 08 August 2015 in buying the French helicopter carriers whose planned sale to Russia had been cancelled due to the Ukraine crisis.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia expressed immediate interested in purchasing the two Mistral warships. A French diplomatic source suggested to local media 27 August 2015 that the two countries would “do anything” to purchase the vessels. The Wall Street Journal cited French officials saying that Cairo was in talks with Paris to buy the ships. Canada, India, Singapore and Egypt were "seriously" interested in buying France's two Mistral warships, a senior official said 11 September 2015, after Paris scrapped a deal to sell the vessels to Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

On 25 September 2015, France's President Francois Hollande and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Sisi agreed on Egypt's acquisition of two Mistral-class ships. The warships are thought to be the first step toward building a joint Arab military force, announced at the 26th summit of Arab leaders in March. Egypt and Saudi Arabia agreed to cooperate on defense and the economy. The Gulf states consider Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi a bulwark against the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

“The President of the Republic spoke with President Sisi. They agreed on the principle and terms of the purchase of two Mistral-class projection and command ships by Egypt,” the statement read. Earlier it was also reported that a delegation of high-ranking Egyptian officials was in Paris to negotiate the price of the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers originally built for Russia.

According to the French Senate Finance Commitee, the country's budget was set to lose about 250 million euros on the deal to sell two Mistral ships originally built for Russia to Egypt. "If the agreement with Egypt to resell the ships is implemented, it will cost the nation's budget 200 to 250 million euros," the committee's statement read.

French president Hollande said that the nation would not bear any costs from the deal with Egypt. "A decision was made to provide the Mistrals to Egypt, we agreed with President Sisi on the terms and the price. France will not bear any financial costs from this agreement," he told reporters.

France and Russia terminated a $1.3-billion contract following Hollande’s suspension of the warships’ deliveries late in 2014 over the Ukrainian conflict. Paris repaid Moscow around $1 billion as compensation for breaching the contract.

Russia struck a deal with Egypt to deliver 46 Kamov Ka-52K navalized attack helicopters, the director-general of the state-run Russian Helicopters aircraft maker said on 30 December 2015. Ka-52Ks were designed for French-made Mistral helicopter carriers that were to join the Russian Navy last year, before France cancelled the deal over Ukraine. The warships are now being bought by Cairo.

'In the outgoing year, new contracts were signed with Russian and foreign helicopter users,' Russian Helicopters Director-General Alexander Mikheev said in a statement published in the corporate magazine. He added that a major sale of Kamov naval helicopters were part of the deals that Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport had inked in 2015. The Ka-52K is a naval modification of the Kamov Ka-52 Alligator. It has reinforced landing gears intended for ship-borne attacks.

It is assumed that one of the Mistrals will serve in the Red Sea, and the other will be positioned in the Mediterranean. According to a source in France’s Ministry of Defense, the ships could be delivered to Egypt in March 2016, after the Egyptian navy crews go through training.

In the period since 2014, Egypt had bought from France four ‘Gowind’ corvettes, which cost 1 billion euros, a FREMM frigate for 900 million euros and 24 ‘Rafale’ fighter jets which cost about 3 billion euros. The volume of other French arms purchased by Egypt amounted to 1.1 billion euros.

Saudi Arabia will help Egypt to purchase the Mistral-class ships, newspaper Express reported quoting a source in the French government. Earlier, the Express reported that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries helped Egypt before in the acquisition of French military equipment, in particular the fighter jet Rafale, a contract which was signed in February 2015.

France's President Francois Hollande and his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah Sisi agreed on Egypt's acquisition of two Mistral-class ships. “The President of the Republic spoke with President Sisi. They agreed on the principle and terms of the purchase of two Mistral-class projection and command ships by Egypt,” the statement read.

Earlier it was also reported that a delegation of high-ranking Egyptian officials is currently in Paris to negotiate the price of the two Mistral-class helicopter carriers originally built for Russia.

It is assumed that one of the Mistrals will serve in the Red Sea, and the other will be positioned in the Mediterranean. According to a source in France’s Ministry of Defense, the ships could be delivered to Egypt in March 2016, after the Egyptian navy crews go through training.

In the period since 2014, Egypt bought from France four ‘Gowind’ corvettes, which cost 1 billion euros, a FREMM frigate for 900 million euros and 24 ‘Rafale’ fighter jets which cost about 3 billion euros. The volume of other French arms purchased by Egypt amounted to 1.1 billion euros.

Moscow will not oppose the sale of two French-made Mistral-class helicopter carriers to Egypt as the new deal respects Russian interests, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said 23 September 09.2015. "The deal is taking place, which means that it respects Russia's interests," Peskov told reporters in Moscow. Russian officials have told their French counterparts that Russian equipment on two Mistral class assault ships can be left intact if the ships are sold to Egypt or India.

Saudi Arabia will help Egypt to purchase the Mistral-class ships, newspaper Express reported quoting a source in the French government. “The help will be significant,” the statement in the newspaper read. Earlier, the Express reported that Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries helped Egypt before in the acquisition of French military equipment, in particular the fighter jet Rafale, a contract which was signed in February 2015.

Russia plans to supply equipment and helicopters for the "Mistral" which Egypt buys from France. The total amount of the transaction may exceed $ 1 billion said the head of the Russian presidential administration Sergei Ivanov.




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Page last modified: 05-06-2016 20:53:47 ZULU