A possible repeal of the contract for the delivery of Mistral-class helicopter carriers to the Russian Navy will create more problems for France than for Russia, the Russian government's Military Industrial Commission Deputy Chairman Oleg Bochkarev told Interfax-AVN on Thursday.
"If the contract is unilaterally repealed at some point, the Russian side will definitely get its money back. Besides, penalties and forfeits will be paid. And they will get a ship built consistent with the Russian requirements and with the Russian participation," Bochkarev said.
The value of the contract for the delivery of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers has been earlier estimated at 1.2 billion euro.
Whenever a contract is repealed and penalties are demanded, the manufacturer keeps the product and wonders what to do with it, Bochkarev said. It is theoretically possible to sell it to somebody else but it is actually very difficult to find a new buyer because the ship is built by the Russian requirements and Russian equipment is installed onboard.
"Who shall they sell it to, NATO allies? But they have different hardware and different standards. The ship will have to be remodeled. If the contract is suspended, the French side will have a bigger headache than we. We even sympathize with the French shipyard a bit," Bochkarev said.
French President Francois Hollande announced on Wednesday evening they had decided to suspend the delivery of the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier to Russia. Hollande said conditions were not right for the delivery of the first helicopter carrier to Moscow.
Experts estimate the value of forfeit and penalties for the non-delivery of the Mistral-class helicopter carrier at up to 3 billion euro.
Russia's Rosoboronexport and France's DCNS signed a contract for the construction of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. The United Shipbuilding Corporation (UAC) engaged in the deal as a subcontractor of the STX France shipyard in Saint Nazaire.
The first Mistral-class helicopter carrier Vladivostok is undergoing sea trials at the STX facility in Saint Nazaire, which is also building the bow of the second ship.
The Vladivostok was launched on October 15, 2013. Its delivery to the Russian Navy was scheduled for fall 2014 and it was supposed to be armed at a Russian shipyard.
This is a phased project. The ship's stern was built by the Baltiyskiy Zavod and carried to Saint Nazaire where it was attached to the bow built by STX France.
The Mistral-class helicopter carrier is 199 meters long and 32 meters wide. Its height at the flight deck is 27 meters, its draught is 6.42 meters and it has a displacement of 22,600 tonnes. The vessel can move at 18.5 knots. Its crew is 177 people, and it can take aboard 481 passengers.
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