MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti)
- Russian experts to study Mistral-class warship maintenance in France
- Latvia says could seek NATO support over Mistral threat
- Mistral: Flagship of friendship
- U.S. congresswoman says Russian-French Mistral deal threatens U.S. security
- Russia to pay France $1.7 bln for two Mistral-class warships
Russia will sign a contract with France for the third and fourth Mistral-class amphibious assault ships before the end of this year, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said on Wednesday.
"I believe we should complete the negotiating process and have these contracts signed before the end of the year," he said.
The two new warships will be built in Russia, he added.
Russia is also buying related technology and has two crews being trained in France, the minister said.
Russia and France signed a $1.7 billion (1.2 bln euro) contract in June on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships for the Russian Navy, which includes the transfer of sensitive technologies.
The helicopter carriers are due to enter service with the Northern and the Pacific fleets in 2014 and 2015.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armored vehicles, and 450 personnel.
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