Russia will soon begin work on its new project to build two new amphibious assault ships, years after France declined to deliver Mistrals to the Navy.
“A contract for their construction has been signed. Work will begin later this week,” sources from Russian military and defense industry were quoted as saying by Izvestia on Tuesday.
Moscow had ordered two French Mistrals for €1.2 billion in 2011. In November 2014, France suspended the contract, citing Moscow's alleged participation in the Ukrainian conflict as the reason behind terminating the deal. The contract was formally axed in August 2015. Egypt then emerged as Paris’ replacement customer with Cairo inking a nearly €850 million contract for the helicopter carriers in September of the same year.
The source on July 14 said the ships are likely to be called “Sevastopol” and either “Vladivostok” or “Kerch.”
The UDC 23900 Surf project has been headed by Nevsky Design Bureau. The vessels will be built at Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch. The value of the contract signed between defense ministry and shipbuilder this spring is around 100 billion rubles, the report said.
French Mistrals have a length of 199m, displacement of 22,000 tons, speed of 20 knots and capacity to carry 8 helicopters. The over 220m planned “Russian Mistrals” are likely to have displacement of 25,000 tons and ability to carry 20 helicopters.