Sea trials of Mistral-class helicopter carrier Sevastopol begin Saint Nazaire

The Mistral-class landing helicopter carrier Sevastopol, the second Mistral-class helicopter carrier built at the shipyard of the company STX France in Saint Nazaire, France, should begin sea trials on Monday, a source in the shipbuilding industry told Interfax-AVN.

The Mistral-class landing helicopter carrier Sevastopol, the second Mistral-class helicopter carrier built at the shipyard of the company STX France in Saint Nazaire, France, should begin sea trials on Monday, a source in the shipbuilding industry told Interfax-AVN.

"The helicopter carrier should enter the Bay of Biscay today, flying the flag of France, for sea trials. The vessel will be carrying specialists from the Saint Nazaire shipyard," the source said.

The source said the sea trials will last four days.

The source recalled that a AIS automatic identification system unit first began working on the vessel on February 12.

The future of the first Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Vladivostok, which the Russian Navy was supposed to receive last fall but whose transfer was suspended by Paris over the Ukraine events, remains unclear.

Reportedly, the Vladivostok crew gathered in St. Petersburg several days ago after a vacation. The crews of both helicopter carriers came to Saint Nazaire in fall 2014 onboard the Smolny training ship and participated in the Vladivostok trials.

Russia's state arms trader Rosoboronexport and France's DCNS signed a contract to build two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in June 2011. St. Petersburg-based Baltiysky Zavod, part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, built the sterns. The STX France Saint Nazaire shipyard attached the sterns to the bows and put the finishing touches to the ships.

The ongoing anti-Russian sanctions allow for the fulfillment of military-technological cooperation contracts signed earlier. A number of NATO countries, primarily, the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland, have repeatedly urged France to deny the delivery of the Mistral-class vessels to Russia.

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