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The Russian Navy has rolled out the stern of first Mistral-class amphibious assault ship Vladivostok following its completion, according to a Russian shipyard.

In June 2011, Russia and France signed a $1.2bn contract for two French-built Mistral-class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy and for the sensitive technology transfer, according to RIA Novosti.

As part of an intergovernmental agreement, Russia will also procure two additional Mistral-class ships, which will be built 80% in Russia and 20% in France.

DCNS will serve as the prime contractor for the deal, while subcontractors to the shipbuilding platforms include STX shipyard, Saint-Nazaire in western France, and Russian shipbuilder OSK.

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The 199m-long, 22,000t Mistral-class ships feature MRR-3D NG surveillance radar and a high-performance communications suite to support humanitarian operations, as well as for a variety of other missions.

Capable of cruising at a speed of 18k, the ships are armed with two Breda Mauser 30mm naval guns and four 12.7mm machine guns.

"The first of the two French-built ships, is scheduled to be launched on 15 October and is expected to begin operations with the Russian Navy in 2014."

French-built Mistral-class ships 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.

Vladivostok, the first of the two French-built ships, is scheduled to be launched on 15 October and is expected to begin operations with the Russian Navy in 2014.

Keel for the second ship, Sevastopol, was laid at the shipyard of manufacturer DCNS earlier in February 2012 and is expected to be delivered to the navy in 2015.

The helicopter carriers are expected to be part of the Russia’s Northern and Pacific fleets.

Image: A French Navy’s Mistral-class ship, Mistral (L9013), stationed at a shipyard. Photo: file image.

Defence technology