Construction of infrastructure for Mistral ships in Vladivostok to begin in 2013 - Navy official

The work on building the necessary infrastructure for Mistral-class naval ships in Vladivostok will begin next year, a source from the Russian Navy main staff told journalists on Saturday.

"Russia's Spetsstroy plans to begin work on building infrastructure for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers to be based in Vladivostok in 2013, and the infrastructure for the first ship should be ready in the fourth quarter of 2014," he said.

The reconnaissance operations at the area where the facilities are to be built have already been started, he said.

The Navy main staff said earlier that two Mistral-class helicopter-carrying vessels to join the Pacific Fleet in 2014 and 2015 would be named the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol.

Russia and France signed a contract on June 17, 2011, under which two helicopter carrying vessels would be constructed in France for the Russian Defense Ministry. Unofficial information indicates that the value of one vessel is about 600 million euro. It was reported earlier that Russia intended to buy two more Mistrals, which will be built in Russia.

The amphibious assault ship and helicopter carrier Mistral has standard water displacement of 16,500 tonnes, full-load displacement of 21,300 tonnes, and displacement with ballasts of 32,300 tonnes; its length is 210 meters, and it can move at over 18 knots. Its range reaches 20,000 miles.

The crew includes 160 people, and the vessel can take aboard another 450 people, 13 combat tanks or 70 automobiles. The ship's helicopter group includes 8 landing and 8 assault helicopters. Six helicopters can be based on the flight deck simultaneously.

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