More on Mistral

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.

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2 responses to “More on Mistral

  1. The price seems high. What could the reason be for such a price and why was Russia willing to pay it?

  2. Nikolskiy says the price is only a little more than what the French paid (the extra is for parts, training). Is it too much? Maybe. Moscow wants to keep its special relationship with Paris, and really seemed to want shipbuilding and shipboard technology embodied in Mistral that it claims it doesn’t have. The Russians had cheaper options to build their own smaller amphibious ships for use in their home waters of the Black Sea and Pacific. Mistral gives Russia more capabilities to play in operations further abroad than it has now. Why pay the price? It doesn’t seem logical against the backdrop of more pressing naval and military requirements. But people and countries often do things for prestige. A last thought, just because this contract is sealed, don’t assume that it’ll be completed. There’s a lot that could disrupt it. And there are different opinions out there on your questions other than the answers you’re reading here.

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