The Russian government has announced plans to build new shipyards near St Petersburg specifically for the construction of helicopter carriers. The facilities on Kotlin Island will become part of Admiralty Shipyards and later be used for other military and civil shipbuilding projects. The move comes after long-drawn-out negotiations between Moscow and Paris, for the acquisition of Mistral class assault ships concluded with a licence to build four vessels.

The first two ships are to be built jointly by DCNS and the United Shipbuilding Corporation at the STX shipyard in St Nazaire. The cost of the first, which will take around three years to complete, is a reported €720 million and the second €650 million. Work on the next pair of ships is expected to begin in Russia in around 2014.

The agreement has been widely criticised, notably by Russia’s smaller neighbours, while many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the deal with France.

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