The United Arab Emirates has now confirmed their interest in one of two French Mistral class vessels that were built for Russia. Rumour is also circulating that Egypt will purchase the other ship.
According to DefenseNews, a UAE official had this to say:
“Our interest in purchasing the ship is real, it fulfils the capability requirements for our forces, the Mistral ships are in line with our equipment and capabilities.”
Additionally, the Wall Street Journal cited French officials recently that Cairo was in talks with Paris to buy the ships. Going so far as to say that Egypt was “among the serious options”.
In September last year, French President François Hollande announced that due to Russia’s “recent actions in Ukraine”, the two ships built for Russia, Vladivostok and Sevastopol, would not be delivered. France has now paid Russia a sum greater than $1 billion in compensation.
A report by Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, quoted by Russia Today’s Arabic service and an array of other Russian sources, claims that Egypt has shown significant interest in purchasing the first vessel with the help of a Russian loan, while the UAE was interested in the second one.
The Mistral class is a class of 21,000 tonne amphibious assault ships capable of transporting and deploying 16 helicopters, four landing craft, up to 70 vehicles and 450 soldiers. France has three vessels in service, Mistral, Tonnerre and Dixmude.