15 Mei 2014
Mistral amphibious assault ship (photo : RIA Novosti)
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) – A source in the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces has told RIA Novosti Russia hasn’t changed its plans as to the deployment of its brand-new Mistral-class helicopter carriers in the Pacific Ocean.
“Plans of the Navy, Defense Ministry and the General Staff remain unchanged. Warships of the Mistral class will have their home port in Vladivostok,” the source said Tuesday.
Vladivostok is Russia’s southeastern port city close to China and is considered the home port of the Russian Pacific Fleet.
Earlier in the day, Black Sea Fleet’s Admiral Alexander Vitko said the French-made amphibious vessels could be moored in Crimea.
The source refuted this claim, saying that Mistral ships required special infrastructure due to their sheer size, and construction was already underway in Vladivostok.
A Mistral-class warship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel. Its water displacement when fully loaded reaches 21,000 tons. The helicopter carrier can go at a speed of over 18 knots.
The first ships were constructed within the framework of a Russian-French deal at the Saint-Nazaire Wharf in France.