The first of two Mistral class amphibious assault ships being co-built in France and Russia for the Russian Navy was floated out of dry-dock at the Saint Nazaire shipyard on 15 October. Vladivostok is scheduled to begin sea trials in March prior to being moved to the Severnaya Verf shipyard in St Petersburg for the fit of her Russian weapon systems.
Although construction of the ships is being shared 60:40 between French and Russian shipyards, with the stern section being constructed at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg and towed to STX France for integration with the rest of the hull, the decision to purchase a major foreign-made warship class remains controversial in Russia. Delivery to the Pacific Fleet is scheduled for November 2014.
Suggestions by high-ranking defence officials that the ships will not be able to operate effectively in Arctic conditions has led to the deferral of plans for a third and fourth ship until the navy has gained operational experience in severe winter weather.