Russia and France have finally signed a much-awaited deal to supply two Mistral warships to the Russian Navy at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The $1.7bn deal for the supply of two Mistral / BPC-type force projection and command vessels was signed between France shipbuilder, DCNS and Russian defence export agency, Rosoboronexport.

DCNS will be the prime contractor and will provide associated services including initial logistics, training, and transfer of technologies.

STX shipyard, Saint-Nazaire in western France and Russian shipbuilder OSK will be subcontracted to the shipbuilding of platforms.

According to DCNS, the first ship will be delivered to Russia in 2014, while the second vessel will be delivered in 2015.

The 199m-long, 22,000t mistral has a cruising speed in excess of 18kt, and will be used in humanitarian operations, during peacetime and wartime as well as for a variety of missions.