Russian navy to assign 30 choppers to two assault ships

Last Updated: Thu, Sep 20, 2012 04:50 hrs

Moscow, Sep 20 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Each of the two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships being built in France for the Russian Navy will have air wings comprising 30 Ka-52K and Ka-29 helicopters.

A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armoured vehicles and 450 personnel.

"The actual number of helicopters on board will vary according to the operational

tasks," a defence ministry source told the Izvestia newspaper.

Prototypes of a naval version of the Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopter are under construction at the Progress plant in Russia's far east. Flight tests are expected to start in 2014.

Ka-29 Helix was originally designed for the Soviet navy as a dedicated assault transport helicopter, and its adaptation for Mistrals will be less time-consuming and costly.

Russia and France signed a $1.2-billion contract for two French-built Mistral-class ships, including the transfer of sensitive technology, in June 2011.

Two more ships are expected to be 80 percent built in Russia, 20 percent in France.

The first Mistral-class warship is expected to be put in service with the Russian Navy in three years.

--IANS/RIA Novosti


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