Russia's defense ministry confirms plans to buy 2 foreign helicopter carriers
Russia's Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov on Sunday confirmed the ministry's plans to buy two foreign helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy and eventually produce vessels of this class on Russian soil.
"We are speaking about the purchase of two helicopter carriers. Moreover, we are going to buy them with full technical documentation so that eventually we can produce them at our enterprises," Serdyukov said in an interview with Vesti Nedeli TV program.
In early October, Russia's Defense Ministry announced an international tender for the construction of two amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy. Previously, Russia held negotiations with France's DCNS 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 at home.
The negotiations were suspended until the results of the tender were announced.
The shipyards of Saint-Nazaire in France are seen as the most likely winner in a tender to build amphibious assault warships for the Russian Navy. Meanwhile, sources told RIA Novosti that Russia's Defense Ministry had also sent invitations to the tender to ship manufactures from Spain, the Netherlands and South Korea.
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.
[Source: RIA Novosti, Moscow, 31Oct10]
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