MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti)
- Russia to pay France $1.7 bln for two Mistral-class warships
- Moscow, Paris signed Mistral protocol of intent, not final deal
- France and Europe interested in Mistral contract with Russia
- Russia, France agree to sign Mistral contract in 15 days
Some 70 Russian military specialists will learn the operation and maintenance of Mistral-class helicopter carriers in France, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Friday.
Russia and France signed in June a $1.7 billion (1.2 bln euro) contract on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, which includes the transfer of sensitive technologies.
"We will send to France 70 people, who will be charged with servicing those ships," Serdyukov said. "At the same time, we will train two Mistral crews in Russia."
The helicopter carriers are planned to enter service with the Northern and the Pacific fleets in 2014 and 2015.
Navy commander Adm. Vladimir Vysotsky said earlier on Friday French technologies would help Russian shipbuilders to build large-capacity ocean ships in the future.
"The purchase of Mistral shipbuilding technology will help Russia to grasp large-capacity shipbuilding. It is important for construction of ships like the future ocean-going class destroyer and later an aircraft carrier," he said.
On Thursday, Vysotsky said the construction of a new class destroyer, most likely nuclear powered, will be finished in 2016.
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