Russian Paficic Navy prepares for new warships

Feb. 12, 2014 at 3:07 PM

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The Russian Navy is building facilities in the Far East for its Mistral-class helicopter carriers.

The pair of Mistral-class helicopter carriers are currently under construction in France. Russia and France signed a $1.6 billion contract for the two ships in June 2011. The builders are STX Europe and DCNS.

RIA Novosti news agency reported Tuesday the carrier facilities will be built on Uliss Bay near the Far Eastern city of Vladivostok, home port to Russia's Pacific Fleet. Rear Adm. Sergei Avakyants, commander of Russia's Pacific Fleet, said the basic infrastructure will be finished by October 2015 with the base ready to host the ships by the beginning of 2018.

The Russian navy will receive its first Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the "Vladivostok" on Nov. 1 while the second Mistral-class warship, the "Sevastopol," is scheduled to be floated out for its fitting out before being fully commissioned at the DCNS shipyard in Saint-Nazaire in October.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the naval base's quay would be extended to accommodate the ships and the base's water, electricity and communications systems are all scheduled for replacement.

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