Russia likely to buy foreign helicopter carrier: DM

12:52, December 24, 2009      

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Russia's purchase of a foreign helicopter carrier is highly likely, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told the daily Rosiiskaya Gazeta in an interview.

"We are now analyzing the terms on which it may be delivered to us. But I think the chances are very high," Serdyukov said in the interview to be published on Thursday.

Negotiations on the purchase of the French helicopter carrier Mistral are progressing "well enough," he said, adding that talks on the acquisition of a similar vessel are underway with other countries.

Serdyukov also said Russia may buy some elements of the French military hardware. "We are interested only in certain specific elements. For instance, communication and control systems," he said.

The defense minister said Russia's military reform will continue over the next few years.

"According to the presidential decree, the troops will be reduced to 1 million by 2016," said Serdyukov.

He said another major task is the rearmament of the armed forces. "We expect the share of modern hardware and weapons to reach one third by 2012 and then rise to 70-100 percent by 2020," he said.

Serdyukov reiterated that the military will not give up its troubled Bulava submarine-launched intercontinental missile despite repeated unsuccessful test launches.

He attributed the test failures to many factors, including the ill-equipped production facilities. "Nevertheless, I believe the missile will fly ultimately," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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