Vedomosti’s Aleksey Nikolskiy published an informative piece on Monday.
He says the announced deal for the first two Mistral helicopter carriers, built in France, includes spare parts and training for a grand total of €1.3 billion (52 billion rubles). The deal reportedly includes the option to build two more units in a Russian shipyard. While the deal’s sealed, the final contract is still being worked between France’s DCNS and Russia’s OSK.
Nikolskiy said the Elysee website said the Mistral package would provide 4 years of work for 1,000 French shipbuilders (5 million man-hours) at STX in Saint-Nazaire.
Paris is selling Moscow the SENIT 9 combat information system aboard Mistral, but apparently without license rights.
The contract for unit one is worth €700 million, and €600 million for unit two.
OSK maintains Russia will get a 20 percent share of the work on unit one, fabricating some sections for the ship in Russia. Its share of the work on the second unit could be more, according to analyst Mikhail Barabanov.
An OSK representative told Nikolskiy the main goal of this deal is to get modern technology, and a possible Russian builder for the optional units hasn’t been determined.
Nikolskiy juxtaposes two views on Russia’s need for Mistral. He quotes Barabanov:
“Why does the Russian Navy need this ship which was designed for the French Navy’s overseas expeditions?”
And he repeats General Staff Chief Makarov’s statement from June that the first Mistral will go to the Pacific Fleet to transport forces where they might be needed, particularly the Kuril Islands.
As post-script, Nikolskiy gives a snapshot of what 52 billion rubles for two Mistrals could buy:
- 2 Borey-class (proyekt 955) SSBNs, or
- 3 proyekt 11356 frigates (Talwar– / Krivak IV-class), or
- 50 Su-30 fighters, or
- 800 T-90 tanks, or
- 50,000 apartments for servicemen.
Of course, you can generally double these alternative purchases if Russia builds a third and fourth Mistral.