Mistral vessel

French shipbuilders have reportedly launched the second Mistral-class amphibious helicopter carrier, Sevastopol, from its dry dock in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Sevastopol is one of two vessels built as part of a $1.5bn deal signed by France and Russia in June 2011, Sputnik news agency reported.

The first carrier, Vladivostok, is expected to join the Russian Navy by the end of this year, followed by Sevastopol next year.

Deliveries were suspended in October, following criticism from the UK and US regarding Moscow’s reported involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

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Russia has been under heavy criticism for allegedly supplying anti-aircraft systems to pro-Russia rebels, who then allegedly shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, killing 298 individuals.

"The first carrier, Vladivostok, is expected to join the Russian Navy by the end of this year."

The 199m-long, 22,000t Mistral-class ships are equipped with MRR-3D NG surveillance radar and a high-performance communications suite for humanitarian missions and a range of other operations.

With a potential to cruise at a maximum speed of 19k, they are integrated with two Breda Mauser 30mm naval guns, four 12.7mm machine guns and two MBDA France Simbad launchers for the Mistral air defence missile.

The carriers can also launch helicopter, tank and missile attacks at sea.

Image: A Mistral-class amphibious helicopter carrier. Photo: courtesy of Rama.

Defence Technology