The first batch of attack helicopters, earlier intended to be based on two French-made Mistral-class aircraft carriers, are expected to be delivered to the Russian navy by 2018, the state-run Tass news agency reported Thursday, citing a source.
The Russian navy will receive the first Kamov Ka-52K (Katran) ship-borne helicopters over the next three years, after France refused to deliver two Mistral-class warships to Russia over the latter’s alleged involvement in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. France said Thursday that it would compensate Russia fully for cancelling the contract.
“I believe the naval aviation will get these helicopters by 2017-2018,” the source told Tass. “The helicopter component on Russian warships will be quite serious. The number of helicopters has yet to be determined but a final decision has not yet been made.”
The Russian government reportedly ordered 32 Ka-52K helicopters, the deck-based version of the Ka-52 Alligator combat helicopter, for the Mistral-class vessels in 2014. The helicopters are being built by Progress Aresenyev Aviation Company, a subsidiary of the Moscow-based Russian Helicopters.
The Russian Defense Ministry previously said the Ka-52K helicopters could also be deployed on other ships of the Russian Navy instead of the Mistrals. After conceding that the Mistral deal was dead, Russia said in May that it would build its own warships that would be better than the French-made ones.
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande agreed on terminating the contract with Moscow receiving compensation from Paris for non-delivery of the warships.
On Thursday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that France would pay the full 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) -- the initial price for the two Mistral helicopter carriers -- for cancelling the deal. The lower compensation, according to Le Drian, is because the ships were not completed and the contract was suspended.
“Russia will be reimbursed euro for euro for the financial commitments taken for these ships,” Le Drian said, adding that the two ships will become the property of France after Russia is compensated.