Russian Navy’s second Mistral-class helicopter carrier Sevastopol has been floated out of Saint Nazaire shipyard’s dry dock in France.
Sevastopol is one of two Mistral-class vessels ordered by the Russian Navy.
A military diplomatic source, quoted by RIA Novosti, said that the Russian Defense Ministry has given the task of transferring the first Mistral-class vessel Vladivostok from Saint-Nazaire (France) to St. Petersburg (Russia) to Russian Deputy Navy Commander Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov.
The $1.6 billion deal for two Mistral-class ships for the Russian Navy was announced in December 2010, but encountered difficulties in September 2014, when French President François Hollande announced the halt of delivery of the first warship, Vladivostok, due to Moscow’s alleged involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.
A number of NATO countries, primarily the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland, have repeatedly tried to persuade France not to deliver the Mistral-class ships to Russia.
The Mistral-class helicopter carriers are 199 meters long, 32 meters wide and can reach a maximum speed of 29 knots. With a displacement of 22,600 tonnes, the vessels can carry up to 481 passengers, as well as 16 helicopters, four landing craft and 70 armored vehicles, Russia Beyond The Headlines writes.
Vladivostok, which was scheduled for delivery for November 14, is expected to join the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet by the end of this year, followed by Sevastopol in 2015.
Naval Today Staff, Image: STX France