Russia and France signed a $1.2bn contract in June 2011, for two French-built Mistral-class ships for the Russian Navy.
Vladivostok, the first of these, was built at the DCNS shipyard in Saint Nazaire and launched in October 2013. It will join Russia’s Pacific Fleet in November.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the two warships will be based in the Far East ports of Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, upon commissioning into the fleet.
The intergovernmental agreement also includes Russia’s procurement of two additional Mistral-class ships, 80% of which will be constructed in Russia and 20% in France.
Capable of cruising at speeds of 18k, the 199m-long, 22,000t Mistral-class ships incorporate MRR-3D NG surveillance radar and a high-performance communications suite, which support humanitarian manoeuvres, in addition to a diverse range of missions.
Armed with two Breda Mauser 30mm naval guns and four 12.7mm machine guns, they can accommodate a crew of 450 and 16 helicopters, including eight Ka-52K and eight Ka-29/31 Helix assault transport helicopters, as well as four landing vessels and 70 armoured vehicles.
Last month it was reported that France was considering discarding the deal in light of the situation in Ukraine.
Image: The French ship Mistral. Photo: courtesy of Rama.