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France's Mistral warship to visit Russia on Nov 23

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MOSCOW (BNS): With Russia planning to buy the Mistral class amphibious warship from France, the ship will arrive at St. Petersburg on November 23 on an official visit.

“The visit was originally scheduled for November 14, but it was later postponed until November 23,” a source in Russia's Baltic Fleet was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.

The ship’s official trip to Russia would enable Russian Navy and other defence experts to inspect it in detail.

Russia plans to buy the assault ship at a cost of around $600-$750 million, while four more such ships would be built in the country under French licensing. The first warship will be built at the STX shipyard in France in partnership with the French shipbuilder DCNS.

France has decided to start official negotiations for the deal which is expected to be finalised by mid-November, the report said.

A Mistral class ship is capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles including 13 main battle tanks, and 450 soldiers. The vessel is equipped with a 69-bed hospital and could be used as an amphibious command ship.

The Russian Navy is planning to deploy the Mistral-class warships in the Northern and Pacific fleets to conduct troop transport, peacekeeping and rescue missions. The helicopter carriers could also be used in anti-piracy operations.

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