MOSCOW, April 21 (UPI) -- Moscow aims to sign a purchase agreement with France for a Mistral-class helicopter transport vessel by the end of the year, military officials said Wednesday.
Moscow negotiated with France to buy at least one of the amphibious assault ships by the end of the year. The ship is valued at around $600 million.
Moscow said it plans to build at least three more Mistral-class vehicles through a partnership with French shipbuilder DCNS, Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti reports.
French officials said the deal would be ready by September, though Mikhail Dmitriev, the head of the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation, was a bit more vague.
"The agreement on the purchase of a Mistral-class ship is due to be signed by year end," he said.
Russian military observers worried that the deal was a push by Russia to secure naval technology for any future potential conflict with NATO allies, RIA Novosti added.
The Mistral-class warship can carry 16 helicopters, up to 70 armored vehicles and a crew of 450.