Russia, France struggle over Mistral contract

French naval command ship Mistral.

From RIA Novosti:  A Russian-French contract on the construction of Mistral class helicopter carriers for the Russian Navy is unlikely to be signed in the near future, a Russian deputy defense minister said.

"The negotiations have not been easy so far, I would even describe them as tough," Anatoly Antonov told reporters in Paris on Tuesday during a visit of Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to France. …

The official added that Russia prioritized the purchase of Mistrals with full technology transfer. The overall price of the contract was also a "big issue," he said.

According to Russian media, the initial talks in February reached an impasse after France increased the total price tag from 980 milllion euros to at least 1.15 billion euros for the first two ships to be built in France.

In addition, France insists on signing a separate contract for licensed construction of two Mistrals in Russia.  (photo: RIA Novosti)  (via EUCOM)

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