Sabtu, Januari 01, 2011

Russia agrees to acquire French amphibious assault vessels

Moscow has agreed to buy two French Mistral-class amphibious assault vessels and could acquire two more under a controversial deal announced on 24 December.

The 20,000-ton vessels will be constructed by French companies DCNS and STX at the latter's yard in St Nazaire in defiance of protests over the sale by the United States and Russia's neighbours in the Baltic and Black Sea regions. Russia's United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) will also work on the programme.

In a joint statement French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his Russian counterpart, Dimitry Medvedev, said the agreement underscored "the determination and capacity of France and Russia to develop extensive partnerships in all spheres, including defence and security".

The value of the contract was not revealed, although French sources said the ships, known as Batiments de Projection et Commandement (BPC), are likely to cost Moscow EUR400 million to EUR500 million (USD527.78 million to USD659.73 million) apiece.

The official statement also failed to mention the controversial issue of technology transfers.

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