PARIS, July 20 (UPI) -- French naval company DCNS reports design modifications to two BPC-type projection-and-command vessels for Russia are progressing.
The Mistral class BCP ships -- essentially helicopter carriers or assault ships are being modified in two stages, with the second stage due for completion in September.
Russian requirements for the vessels, under a contract that became effective last year, include design changes for the handling of Russia's Kamov helicopters and other Russian equipment, as well as localization of user interfaces.
DCNS said that while design modifications are being finalized the hull blocks for the first ship has begun at the STX shipyard in France and that the hull will be laid early next year.
The first BPC is scheduled for delivery in 2014.
The French navy has three such vessels.
The BCPs are more than 652 feet long, displace more than 24,000 tons and have a speed of more than 18 knots. They can carry about 16 helicopters, 70 vehicles and more than 400 soldiers.
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