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Russian Helicopters to Fly From Egyptian Mistrals

  • France has announced Egypt will buy the two Mistral helicopter carriers originally built for Russia
  • Russia has announced Egypt will buy 50 Russian attack helicopters - possibly the very machines Russia built for Mistrals

PARIS, September 23 (TASS) -Egypt will buy both Mistral class helicopter carriers that were built by France originally for Russia, the Elysee Palace reported on Wednesday.

"French President Francois Hollande held telephone talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi today. They agreed on the principle and the terms of the acquisition by Egypt of the two ships," French president’s spokesman told reporters.

A high-rank Russian source in the field of defense technologies told TASS that Russia has not received any queries from France so far regarding permission for reexports of Mistral helicopter carriers.

"Russia hasn't received any queries from France so far," he said in a comment on a statement by the Elysees Palace on an ostensible agreement on the sales of ships to Egypt.

The price that Egypt will pay for the two warships has not been disclosed. 

French government’s spokesman Stephane Le Foll said on Wednesday that the French Treasury "will not incur losses" as a result of the concluded deal for the sale of the Mistral helicopter carriers. However, according to data made public at a recent meeting of the foreign affairs committee of the French National Assembly, the re-equipment of the two Mistrals alone due to the dismantling of Russian equipment from them will cost "at least €300 million."

La Tribune reported on Wednesday that the Egyptian delegation was in talks with France on purchase of the two ships. 

Egyptian negotiators received permission to discuss the possible deal from President Abdl Fattah al-Sisi. According to the sources cited by the French newspaper, apart from Mistral helicopter carriers, Cairo is also interested in purchasing two Gorwind-class corvettes, but the sides cannot agree on the price. The negotiations are complicated by the fact that the French Economy Ministry has proposed an inflated price which, in Egypt’s opinion, deprives representatives of the DCNS shipbuilding company responsible for the construction of helicopter carries of "any possibility for maneuver". "Last week, Egyptians almost closed the door twice because DCNS has nothing to answer them," the newspaper said.

"It is supposed that the ships will be stationed in the Red and Mediterranean Seas for a possible intervention in Libya and Yemen," the newspaper noted.

MOSCOW, September 23 (TASS) - Russia and Egypt have signed an agreement on supplies of fifty helicopters of the Ka-52 Alligator family and Moscow does not rule out delivery of the deck-based version of these helicopters that were designed for the defaulted Mistral project, a well-connected source in the sphere of defense technologies told TASS.

"An agreement on the supplies of fifty Ka-52 helicopters has been signed," he said. "If the Egyptian side finds it necessary, the sea-based version of the helicopters will be supplied."

Officials at the state weaponry trading company Rosoboronexport refrained from commenting on the information.

Elysees Palace said earlier on Wednesday the French government had reached an agreement on the sales to Egypt of two Mistral-class helicopter carriers that were originally built for the Russian Navy.

Sources in the Russian Navy’s Main Headquarters told TASS in August that the Navy expects to receive the first Kamov Ka-52K (Katran) ship-borne helicopters in 2017-2018. The helicopters were earlier intended to be based on two Mistral helicopter carriers, which France has refused to deliver to Russia over Moscow's stance on developments in neighboring Ukraine.

The Ka-52K is the deck-based version of the Ka-52 Alligator combat helicopter. Initially, this type of helicopters was developed for Mistral helicopter carriers ordered in France in 2011.

However, France froze the delivery of two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Russia in 2014 over Moscow’s stance on developments in Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande agreed on terminating the contract on the delivery of the ships to Russia. 

Russian Helicopters rotocraft manufacturer and Russia’s Defense Ministry earlier said Ka-52K helicopters would be based on other ships of the Russian Navy instead of Mistrals. Russian Helicopters has also said the company expects deck-based Alligator helicopters to enjoy demand on international arms markets.

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