Russia warship buy opened to tender: defence ministry

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Russia on Friday confirmed that it had thrown open its planned purchase of a helicopter carrier to an international tender, ending France's status as the exclusive bidder.

"We have announced an international tender for the construction of the helicopter carrier," Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

Russia has been negotiating with France for months to buy the Mistral-class ships, in its first ever purchase of military hardware from a NATO member state. But talks have been mired by disputes over technology transfer.

Serdyukov said that the tender, due to take place in September, would be for two ships and the producer of the Mistral would be allowed to bid.

© 2010 AFP

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