France transfers sensitive warship technology to Russia

By on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

France has transferred to Russia all the technology it asked for under a $1.7-billion deal for two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, a Russian arms exporter said on Monday.

Under the deal signed on Friday, the first warship will be delivered in 2014 and the second in 2015.

“The French side has transferred all technologies, including the Zenit-9 [command and control] system, as well as two other systems,” said Anatoly Isaikin, head of the Rosoboronexport state-controlled arms exporter.

A formal contract for the construction of the two Mistral class ships will be signed separately at a later date, he said, adding it could take up to three months to compile.

The warships will be equipped with Russian-built Ka-52 Alligator multirole helicopters, Isaikin said.

Navy chief Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said on Friday, the warships will be provided with Russian weapon systems, including amphibious landing assets and carrier aviation.

The use of Mistral class ships will significantly increase the effectiveness of humanitarian operations, he said, adding that they could be used both in peacetime and in wartime for a variety of missions.

The program has alarmed Russia’s neighbors, especially Georgia.

Russia and France in January signed an intergovernmental agreement to build two Mistral class helicopter carriers at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. Another two are planned to be constructed later in Russia.

Contract talks stumbled over Russia’s demand for the transfer of sensitive electronic systems.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.

France has two Mistral class amphibious assault ships in service and is building a third.

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