If Mistrals Sold to Egypt or India, Russian Equipment Won't Be Removed
A French official
cited by defense news website Defense One said that Moscow has signaled
that Russian telecommunications and missile control systems installed
onboard the Mistral helicopter carriers may not be removed, if Egypt or
India were to purchase the warships.
The unnamed official indicated that Russian officials had "let it be
known" that Moscow "could accept India and Egypt receiving the
equipment" if either of the two countries were to buy the ships,
originally ordered by Russia in 2011 in a botched deal which has
since forced Paris to refund Russia €949.7 million over the contract's
The official also suggested that if the equipment were to remain
onboard the ships, it would help Russia to keep close links with Cairo.
Some €56.7 million of the refund amount had gone toward covering the
Russian-made equipment on board the ship, as well as training. Earlier
this month, Russian officials announced that Moscow and Paris would hold
talks on September 21 over the dismantling of Russian equipment
aboard the warships, noting that the Russian-made components would be
dismantled and returned to Russia by late November.
France is now in the process of attempting to sell the carriers to a
new buyer, with Egypt said to be the leading prospective buyer. Last
week, French officials announced that a deal with Egypt "is among the
serious options" for the ships' sale.
As the Wall Street Journal had
explained late last month, if Cairo were to purchase the ships, it would
give Egypt's navy "some of the most advanced pieces of equipment in the
arsenal of a Middle Eastern military," with the ships capable
of transporting hundreds of troops, 16 helicopters, tanks and armored
vehicles, and featuring a command-and-control system capable
of directing these forces in battle.Along with Egypt and India, several other countries, including Brazil,
Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates
had signaled their interest in the amphibious assault ships. According
to unconfirmed reports, the buyer would also be offered to purchase the
Russian-made Kamov Ka-52K helicopters tailored specifically for the
Egypt has recently signed an agreement with France to purchase $5.2
billion in military equipment, including a frigate, four Gowind
corvettes and 24 Rafale fighter jets, as well as arms from missile
manufacturers MBDA and Sagem. Cairo is in talks with French officials
on the purchase of two more corvettes. India, meanwhile, is in talks
with Paris on the purchase of 36 Rafales.