MOSCOW, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- A spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday construction began at a site in the Far East that will host Mistral-class helicopter carriers.
In 2011, the Russian and French militaries signed a $1.6 billion contract for two helicopters carriers. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the dock at the naval base in Vladivostok will be extended to accommodate the new Mistral-class carriers, the state-supported news agency RIA Novosti reported Tuesday.
"The ammunition-loading site will be drastically modernized, while access roads and railroads will be upgraded," he added.
Construction at the naval base began Tuesday. The Russian military said the basic infrastructure will be completed by 2015, though the base in Uliss Bay won't be ready for the new carriers until 2018.
Both Mistral-class carriers will be floated to Russian ports in October and November this year.