The Russian Navy is planning to purchase a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship from France in a deal worth between €300m and €400m.

The assault ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges and up to 70 vehicles including 13 main battle tanks as well as 450 soldiers.

An agreement is expected in September 2009 for the vessel, which would be the Russian Navy’s first major acquisition of foreign naval equipment, RIA Novosti reports.

The Russian Navy currently has no room to purchase or construct new combat ships under the weapons procurement programme leading up tol 2015. The new deal, however, will fall under a new programme up to 2020.