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article imageRussia demands total technology transfer for warship deal

By Michael Cosgrove     Jul 25, 2010 in Business
In a move that may well anger Washington, Russia insists on French agreement to a full technology transfer before signing a contract for two French-designed warships. Russia wants to construct more of the ships in Russia in the future.
The demand was made on Saturday in a statement issued by the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, Admiral Vladimir Vissotski, according to Le Point. The statement was broadcast on Moscow’s Echo Radio station.
Part of the statement reads; “What is important here is that we obtain the possibility of a transfer of fundamental key technologies {…} not only in the field of naval construction but in other areas too. There is no doubt that that is the principal condition for this transaction to go ahead. If it doesn’t happen, well, there will be no reason to go any further.”
Apart from the two ships concerned by the deal, negotiations are ongoing for two more as well as the possibility of transferring the construction of further ships in Russia starting from 2011.
His words come the day after French President Nicolas Sarkozy confirmed that France would build the two ships, which are scheduled to be built in the French STX Shipyards in Saint-Nazaire. Addressing workers at the shipyards he said “You are going to build the two ships with our Russian friends. We are still negotiating the contract, but the decision to go ahead is certain.” He made no mention of the technology transfer demanded by Moscow.
The ship in question is the Mistral Class amphibious assault ship, variously known as a helicopter carrier, projection and command unit, or landing platform carrier. A state-of-the-art warship, it was designed to be a part of France, Europe and NATO’s Response Force capability and can carry 16 helicopters, four landing barges, up to 70 vehicles or a battalion of 40 tanks. It can also carry 400 troops or 900 for short-range emergency deployments and it has a 70-bed hospital.
The United States has been following the deal closely from the beginning, and the New York Times reported in February that Defense Secretary Robert Gates had informed French officials that he was concerned about the deal, although he acknowledged that little or nothing could be done to stop it. American concerns are said to be centered upon issues of the possible military and strategic ramifications of the sale as well as technology transfers.
The Baltic States and Georgia are also unhappy with the deal which, if it went ahead, would represent the first sale of military equipment of this nature and scale to Russia by a NATO country.
More about Warship, Ships, Mistral class, France
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