The fore part of the second Mistral-class ship under construction for the Russian Navy, LHD Sevastopol (N33), has been completed by the addition of a 440 t block at France-based shipyard STX.
This operation will be followed by the erection of radar masts at the beginning of 2014 and by addition of the aft part of the ship, due for arrival from Saint Petersburg, Russia at the beginning of summer 2014.
The construction of the ship, initiated in June 2013, in France, Saint-Nazaire, is being shared between the countries with France building about 60 percent and Russia 40.
After final assembly of the main structures in France the ship is scheduled to return to St. Petersburg for the outfitting of additional Russian-specific weapons and subsystems.
The two countries inked the EUR 1.2-bln contract for two Mistrals in June 2011. The first ship is planned to join the Russian Navy in 2014, and the second one in 2015.
Displacement of Mistral-class assault landing ships is 21,000 tons. They each have a length overall of 210 meters and can reach a speed over 18 knots. Their respective operating range is up to 20,000 miles and they will be able to accommodate a crew of 160 men plus 450 marines.
Their air wings comprise 16 helicopters each including six placed on the flight deck. The Mistrals are going to be armed with eight Ka-52K and eight Ka-29 helicopters.
Russia plans to base its French-made Mistral-class amphibious assault ships in the Far East ports of Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky when they enter service.
Naval Today Staff, December 20, 2013; Image: STX France