Russia’s First Mistral-Class Ship to Pass Sea Trials
The Mistral-class helicopter carrier, the Vladivostok, with 200 Russian sailors, left the French port of Saint-Nazaire to undergo a series of tests. The Vladivostok had left docks at 3:30 a.m. local time, but had to wait until the tide, thus sailing out to sea at 7:20 a.m. accompanied by two tugboats.
It should be noted that DCNS and Rosoboronexport signed a €1.2 billion contract for two Mistral-class helicopter carriers in 2011. The first carrier, the Vladivostok, is expected to enter service with the Russian Navy in 2014. The second ship, the Sevastopol, should arrive in 2015. The completion of the deal was at risk after Western countries imposed sanctions against Russia. However, DCNS said it would fulfill its obligations and deliver the ships as agreed.
Last week, France threatened to suspend the supply of the helicopter carriers due to the crisis in Ukraine. Later, a spokesman for the French government emphasized that the delivery of the ship was not officially suspended and that French President Francois Hollande was simply outlining his political stance.