French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has confirmed the sale of 2 French warships of the Mistral Class amphibious assault ship.
A ship of this class weighs at around 21,300 tonnes full load at a cost of $400 million (USD). This is subject to change as any modifications to the ship are likely to cost more. Russia has set aside $2 billion (USD) for the purchase of 4 French Mistral Class amphibious assault ships. The Mistral Class can carry mainly helicopters, landing craft and has a vast array of advanced technology.
Russia has expressed the purchase of wanting 4 Mistral Class amphibious assault ships. 2 to be built and assembled in France while the other 2 to be assembled in Russia.
1st of November 2010 – Russian and French shipbuilders, (USC) United Shipbuilding Corporation and DCNS signed an agreement to form a partnership.
President Sarkozy has claimed and stated to workers of the STX shipyard who will build these ships for Russia that “With our Russian friends, you are going to build the two BPCs,”. Once a Cold War enemy Russia has increasingly become more open and friendly with the West since the Cold War-era.
The US has concerted awareness on this topic and several top or well known Senators have expressed concern. At the start of 2010 in February, US officials stated that they had questions over the sale of technology and weaponry to the Russians back when Robert Gates visited France. There is little or nothing the US can do to block a sale like this from going through at this stage. However NATO allies have also expressed concern suggesting that the Russian’s could use it against them in the future or against allies of NATO countries.
President Nicolas Sarkozy office said in a statement “Their offer initially covers the joint construction of two of these kinds of vessel, which should be extended by the construction of two more,”. Russia has confirmed the sale through the French led partnership or consortium between DCNS and United Shipbuilding Corporation.
It is the first largest military deal between Western countries and Russia since World War II.