Russia Could Sell Mistral-Designed Helicopters to Potential Mistral Buyer
Moscow plans to offer
Kamov Ka-52K helicopters to a country interested in purchasing the two
Mistral warships which France originally built for the Russian Navy, the
Kommersant newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources.
The Ka-52K rotorcraft are specifically tailored for the amphibious
assault ships. Russia built a total of four machines to serve on the
Mistrals before the arms deal was cancelled in August.
No nation has formally confirmed its decision to buy the helicopter
carriers but many speculate that Brazil, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Saudi
Arabia, Singapore, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates are
contemplating adding the amphibious assault ships to their fleet.
A source told the daily that Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sis
discussed the Mistrals with Vladimir Putin while on a visit to Moscow
"Sisi expressed interest in the possibility
of buying the helicopter carriers from the French but it was a purely
theoretical interest. … Obviously, they need financial assistance from a
third party to purchase the ships," the source added but declined
to comment on whether Russia could serve as a creditor.
Earlier, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia could buy the two Mistrals
which would likely be docked in Egypt. The oil kingdom views the
amphibious assault ships as a means to project its own power in the
region. They could also become part of the joint Arab force project
which was recently unveiled by Riyadh and Cairo.
Regardless of who will buy the two Mistral, France will have
to discuss the matter with Russia since Moscow has power to veto such a
transaction. Meanwhile, the Vladivostok and the Sevastopol built under a
$1.3 billion deal are docked at a shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.