If Moscow and Paris sign a contract to build Mistral class helicopter carriers for Russia, the first warship may be built in 2013, a top manager of French STX Europe shipbuilder said on Friday.
The shipyards of Saint-Nazaire are seen as the most likely winner in a tender to build amphibious assault warships for the Russian Navy.
"If Russia and France sign the deal, the first Mistral-class vessel may be built in the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire in late 2013-early 2014," said Jacques Hardelay, STX Europe president for operations in France.
He said the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire are able to build two Mistral class warships simultaneously.
"If the contract is signed, then in one year, namely in 2015, Russia would get a second Mistral class warship. Therefore, by 2016 the Russian Navy would have two Mistral class warships," Hardelay said.
"As soon as the contract is signed, we would propose to our Russian colleagues to produce certain components for the first two ships to be built in France. There won't be many [components to be produced] for the first ship, but many more for the second," the official added.
Russia will be able to build its first domestically-produced Mistral class amphibious assault ships in late 2016 or early 2017.