Shipbuilding: by Our Own Efforts and In-House Only 

 According to statement of Dmitry Rogozin, Vice-Premier of the Russian Federation in Twitter “we will build our fleet by our own efforts and in-house only”

Text: Igor Chubakha

 

Mistral

The French helicopter transport ship Mistral sits docked at a quay on the Neva River in central St. Petersburg near the celebrated Hermitage museum on November 23, 2009.

Particularly, a change of priorities with respect to fleet-building can be used as a basis for explanation of indifference, with which Russia regards jactation of the French party, whether to sell the Mistral helicopter carrier or not.

“As a matter of principle we will be satisfied with both variants: either ships or money”, pronounced Yury Ushakov, Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, the response of our Party to the non-compliance of France with contractual obligations early in December.

Let us define more exactly, Mistral is a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship (MPAAS) combining the functions of a helicopter carrier and a dockship. Without any additional upgrading the ship of Mistral type is capable of taking on board the assault force amounting to 450 troops (up to 900 troops for a short period of time). A helicopter group includes 16 machines, six of them can be simultaneously stationed on the takeoff deck. A ship is provided with four light assault landing boats or two hoverborne assault landing boats. A cargo deck is capable of accommodating more than 40 tanks or 70 vehicles.

Dmitry Rogozin, Vice-Premier
A focus exclusively on the domestic manufacturer at fulfilling the State Defense Procurement and Acquisition order is the state strategic commitment under conditions of sanctions from the West.

Such ships have never left the building berths in Russia and the USSR. The light cruisers- helicopter carriers of “Moscow” type have been intended first of all for performing the anti-submarine missions, while the specialization of Mistral implies the assault operations and transportation.
An unimplemented Soviet project MPAAS 11780 could have been considered to be the analog of the French ship. This ship was capable of transporting up to two marine infantry battalions (1,000 troops), up to 30 airborne vehicles and up to 4 hoverborne ships. In due course two such ships have been ordered at the building berths, but collapse of the USSR terminated the implementation of this project.

Thus, a definite amount is available with Russia in hand for building a domestic MPAAS. At that, Mistral was floated off in France in 2004, in other words, the project can not be referred to as the new one. And finally, as far back as during giving consideration to an issue of practicability of procuring a helicopter carrier, one could hear warnings of the experts that the French ship is not applicable for operation under ice conditions without an additional costly modernization. Meanwhile, the MPAAS is demanded particularly by the Northern Fleet and Pacific Fleet.

A program for building domestic MPAAS can be included into a plan of implementing orders of national shipbuilding until 2025. 
“In March 2015 we have to give shape to an extensive plan of implementing orders for the Russian shipbuilding outlined up to 2025, and generally, in perspective – up to 2030”, said the Vice-Premier at the resulting meeting of the Marine Board on December 9, 2014.

The order will be shaped for building ships and maritime equipment for development of offshore fields, organization of passenger operations, scientific investigations, development of the Northern Sea Route and development of fishery while loading at the same time the shipbuilding enterprises with the State Defense Procurement and Acquisition orders in the context of fulfilling a new State Arms Program up to 2016–25.

Issue retrospective
A possibility of purchasing foreign combat ships for the Russian Navy was publicly declared for the first time in June 2009. Vladimir Vysotsky, the Commander-In-Chief of the Navy of the Russian Federation stated at the IV International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS) in Saint Petersburg that he “does not rule out” a possibility of such course of events.
Oleg Burtsev, Vice-Admiral, the First Deputy Chief-of-Staff of the Russian Navy, clarified on November 2, “We are going to procure one ship of Mistral type from France as well as build four ships of this class of helicopter carriers with technical assistance and license from the French side”. However, the contract terms and conditions have later suffered changes.
By the way, in the same year at the end of November the French helicopter carrier arrived at Saint Petersburg for a working visit and was secured at the Lieutenant Schmidt embankment.
The contract proper valued at EUR 1.2 bln. for building two helicopter carriers of Mistral type was signed in June 2011 between Rosoboronexport and French company DCNS. The first ship had to be commissioned on November 1, 2014 plus 30 days without imposing punitive sanctions.

Article 5 of draft Federal Law “On state administration of maritime activity of the Russian Federation”.

The goals of national naval policy consists in implementation and protection of national interests of the Russian Federation in the World Ocean and strengthening positions of the Russian Federation among the leading sea countries.