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Mistral Deal - 2012

On 21 December 2012 RIA Novosti reported that Russia was putting back the launch of a project to build two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships under French license from 2013 to 2016. The Russian Defense Ministry is not abandoning plans to build two Mistral-class ships in Russia but is postponing the start of the construction work from 2013 to 2016, a Defense Ministry source said. The reason for that is the need to assess the ships performance, role and status as part of the Russian Navy, he said. It is essential, first, to understand what is required to ensure their effective operation and technical servicing. It may also be necessary to modify the ships design, introduce new elements and mechanisms taking into account Russian specifics and basing conditions, the source said. Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation said earlier in the day the contract to build two Mistral ships is in force, dismissing media reports that the countrys Defense Ministry had dropped the construction plans. We have not been informed of any such decision by the Russian Defense Ministry. Currently, the contract remains in force, as before, a spokesman for Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation said. The spokesman also confirmed that the construction of the first two Mistral ships in France will be continued.

Russian business daily Vedomosti cited a government source saying that the Defense Ministry had decided to abandon plans to build two Mistral class amphibious assault ships under French license in Russia. Russia and France signed a $1.2-billion contract for two French-built Mistral class ships, including the transfer of sensitive technology, in June 2011. The first ship, the Vladivostok, is being built at a DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and should be delivered in 2014, while the second, the Sevastopol, is scheduled for delivery in 2015. Two more ships were expected to be 80 percent built in Russia, 20 percent in France.

Mistral Deal - 2013

The Mistral deal came under fire from senior Russian officials in January 2013, following the dismissal of former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, had who actively lobbied for their purchase. Military-Industrial Commission Deputy Head Ivan Kharchenko said the $1.2-billion deal with a French shipyard, signed under the ousted Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov had caused significant damage to the state and the Russian shipbuilding industry. We have been discussing the absurdity of this earlier decision. It was the initiative of Serdyukov and its not the only damage he has inflicted to the government and the industry, Kharchenko said a meeting with defense companies in Moscow on 24 January 2013.

The first ship, the Vladivostok, is being built at the DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and was due to be delivered in 2014, while the second, the Sevastopol, is scheduled for delivery in 2015. Kharchenko said the ships must now be completed, otherwise Russia would lose more if backtracks the deal. Another contract for two other Mistral vessels was under discussion, but was postponed.

Russia does not produce the type of fuel necessary for the French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault vessels it has ordered, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on 05 February 2013. The Mistral class are powered by electric motors supplied by diesel-powered turbogenerators, according to naval-technology.com. Diesel fuel can suffer from a condition known as waxing or gelling in cold conditions, causing it to clog up fuel injection systems, naval systems engineers say. The condition can be corrected by use of certain chemical additives, or pre-heating the fuel, as is done in some cars. Probably, our chemists will prepare some special additives to solve this problem, Rogozin, who oversees Russias military industry, told reporters.

In a Press Conference by Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera on 02 June 2013, the minister discussed a conference held with French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian. Onodera said that "with regard to the export of Mistral-class ships, which are amphibious assault ships, to Russia, I expressed Japan's concern that such action may upset military balance in the Far East, as we had been informed that these ships are expected to be deployed in this region. ... At first, despite conveying our concerns regarding these two issues, the French side explained to the effect that these products exported are not considered to be weapons in a direct sense, but are transport vessels and supplementary devices for helicopters so to speak based on their classification. So I repeated Japan's concerns that these landing ships are assumed to be deployed in the Far East where these ships may pose a threat to various countries in the region."

The construction of the stern for the first Mistral helicopter carrier being built for the Russian Navy would be finished in France because a Russian shipyard cannot meet the deadline specified in the contract, a senior Russian defense official said 18 June 2013. We will have the whole stern made there [in France], we won't take risks so as not to delay the contract, Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov told reporters on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget. Borisov said the decision had been made as it became evident that the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St. Petersburg, subcontacted to build the stern for the ship, was not going to meet the deadline.

The stern of the new ship "Mistral" was launched onJune 26, 2013 at the "Baltic Shipyard" in St. Petersburg, built jointly with France's STX for the Russian Navy. Then the stern of the "Mistral" was towed to the French shipyard of Saint Nazaire. On 25 July 2013 the stern arrived at Saint-Nazaire, which would start work on its docking with the rest of the ship.

The first, the Vladivostok, was being built at the DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire and was due to be delivered in 2014, while the second, the Sevastopol, was scheduled for delivery in 2015. Borisov said the Vladivostok may be moved as early as in October from France to Russia where Russian armaments, communications systems and other equipment would be installed. He also said the Sevastopol helicopter carrier was laid down at an official ceremony in Saint-Nazaire on 18 June 2013. Russia put back plans to build two additional Mistral-class ships under French license to 2016, citing the need to assess the ships performance, role and status as part of the Russian Navy.



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Page last modified: 04-12-2015 18:23:02 ZULU