The Russian Defence Ministry is to assign a new team of negotiators to the potential $1.5bn deal to purchase Mistral Class helicopter carriers from France, a ministry source has said.

“New representatives will take part in the next round of Russian-French Mistral talks. At the moment, they are receiving the necessary documentation on the contract,” the source added.

The contract neared closure last year over technology transfer issues between the two countries, which were latter settled during negotiations in January.

The countries will jointly build two Mistral Class helicopter carriers at STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, and the other two at Admiralty Shipyards in St Petersburg, Russia.

The French Mistral Class amphibious assault ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armoured vehicles and 450 personnel, according to RIA Novosti.