The Russian Defense Ministry announced an international tender for purchase of helicopter carrier ships for the Navy, said the first deputy minister Vladimir Popovkin at Euronaval 2010 exhibition on October 26 cited by RIA Novosti. The Russian military plans to purchase two ships from a foreign manufacturer and get a license to construct more ships at local facilities.
“We have sent our requests to all countries that produce the ships of this class”, said Popovkin adding that proposals from the participants will be reviewed at the end of November while the contract with the winner is expected to be inked by the end of this year. This contract can become the first large purchase of foreign armaments by the Russian military.
But many in Russia think that the tender is just a formality as the winner is already known. It is likely be a Mistral class helicopter carrier by French DCNS. Russia has been in talks with DCNS about the possible purchase of these ships since 2009, at the end of the last year the Mistral ship of the French Navy visited St Petersburg and conducted some trials with the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea, including test landing of Russian helicopters on its deck. Earlier the Russian military wanted to buy one ship and to build three more at local facilities, but later the parties reportedly agreed to the 2 + 2 formula. The deal is unofficially estimated at about 2 billion euro.
The French Navy's Mistral on Neva river in St Petersburg (credits - French Navy)
Among other possible contenders are Daewoo with their Dokdo class ship and Navantia with the Juan Carlos I class.