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France expects Russian decision soon on buying Mistral warship

RIA Novosti


NEW DELHI, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - French naval shipbuilder DCNS said on Thursday it expected to receive a final answer from Russia soon on buying a Mistral-class helicopter carrier.

"The company is interested in cooperation with Russia. Now we are waiting only for a political decision. We believe we'll receive an answer from Moscow soon," Benoit de la Bigne, a DCNS executive, said.

The Russian military earlier announced that it was considering buying one of the Mistral-class amphibious assault ships, worth 400-500 million euros (around $540-$675 mln), and potentially building three or four vessels of the same class in partnership with the French naval shipbuilder DCNS.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 battle tanks, and 450 soldiers. The vessel is equipped with a 69-bed hospital and can be used as an amphibious command ship.

Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase.

Russia's current arms procurement program through 2015 does not provide for the construction or purchases of large warships, so the acquisition of a French warship is more likely under a new program, through 2020, which has yet to be developed.

The executive also said that India was displaying interest as well in buying a Mistral-class warship.

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