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Hollande: France Will Have ‘No Difficulty’ Finding Mistral Buyers

An undated photo of Russian-ordered Mistra

An undated photo of Russian-ordered Mistra

French president François Hollande told reports on Thursday France will have little trouble finding new buyers for two Mistral-class amphibious warships originally built for the Russian Navy.

“There will be no difficulty in finding buyers,” he told reporters following a ceremony in Egypt marking the expansion of the Suez Canal.

The comments follow Wednesday’s announcement from Élysée Palace that Russia and France had formalized canceling the delivery of the two 21,000-ton amphibious warships as part of a 2011 deal.

“Talks between President Putin and President Francois Hollande concluded yesterday. There is no further dispute on the matter,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told France’s RTL radio on Wednesday.

Paris paid Moscow about $1.31 billion to call off the deal.

“France has already transferred these funds and, after the return of equipment, will acquire ownership and be able to take charge of both ships,” read a release from the Kremlin via state-run RT news service.

“Moscow considers the Mistral issue completely resolved.”

The deal settles more than a year of back and forth between Paris and Moscow following Hollande’s announcement in September France would suspend the delivery of the ships citing Russian intervention in the ongoing civil conflict in Ukraine.

Now France will seek a buyer for the two ships designed to operate in cold weather climates with reinforced decks for heavier Russian helicopters.

“It’s desirable that we sell them as quickly as possible,” Le Drian told RTL.

France already has three Mistrals and would have difficulty absorbing the ships into its Navy.

Despite Hollande’s assurance, the options for France are limited.

Suggestions for buyers have included Canada, India and as platforms for the emerging NATO multi-national rapid reaction force.

  • Bruce W. Webster

    The Canadian army has done training on the Mistral with French Forces in the Gaspésie and Quebec, so a Canadian purchase for the east and west coast fleets would be sensible’

    • Secundius

      @ Bruce W. Webster.

      Canada, said back in June 2015. That they weren’t interested, they had “Quietly” just Retired Four Supply Ship’s, simply because they can’t afford the Operation and Maintenance Costs anymore…

      • Ian MacCorquodale

        No, the 2cdn. Supply ships were over 40 years old, single hull tankers with a steam plant that required sourcing parts from eBay. One caught fire off Hawaii, and was written off. The 2 DDGs are the same age and metal fatigue has taken its toll. The last DDG is still operational for the moment. The mistrals would be perfect for Canada’s needs, they are arctic strengthened, could act as supply ships to the fleet until our two Berlin Class AORs are ready in 2020. Should have leased the two Bridge Class ORs the USN just took out of service in my humble opinion. We are leasing the services of the Chilean Navy for support ship Pacific, and the Spanish for the Atlantic. The government has let a contract for an interim jury rigged oiler to Davie Shipbuilding in the meantime. Hard times for the RCN.

        • Secundius

          @ Ian MacCorquodale.

          According to the Policy Papers of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, they consider the Mistral: Global Power Projection Vessels. And are FIRM about NOT buying the Two Mistral class Assault Ships…

          • Ian MacCorquodale

            I wasn’t referring to the Mistrals, although the Government is making a stupid decision with them. In these liberal days a power projection ship can be sold by plugging it’s disaster response capabilities. It would also rub Putins nose in it, as Our PM seems to enjoy doing. My reply was regarding the supply ships(2) that were taken out of service.

          • Secundius

            @ Ian MacCorquodale.

            Funny, I could has sworn that in your fifth sentence. You said the Mistral would be Perfect for Canada’s needs. Must be a Long Line Typo…

          • Ian MacCorquodale

            They would indeed be perfect for Canada, but we know the government won’t go for it, that’s a given, at least I thought it was. Common sense seems to be lacking up here these days, referring to the government, not you. Saudi and Egypt have now expressed an interest, so moot point regardless. Just to spell it out for you, you stated that we retired 4 supply ships, I corrected you as I look at them everyday, and expounded a bit on the sad state of our Navy, which I have been involved with and around my entire life. Not trying to pee in your cornflakes Sailor.

          • Secundius

            @ Ian MacCorguodale.

            I agree with you 100%, but outside of WW2 and Korea. When DID Canada ever Power Project Themselves. Their more of a Defense Navy Culture, than Offensive. Canada, is More of a “Clark Kent” persona, too the USA’s “Superman” persona. Always in the Background, trying hard NOT to be Noticed…

          • Ian MacCorquodale

            We had quite a tempo built up during Op Apollo, our response to the 911 attacks, every ship deployed, some twice or 3 times over the course of things. It is sad to see a once respectable 3rd tier Navy fall to 5. No excuse for it, we have known the old girls were old and due for replacement in 2000. Won’t cut steel for the new destroyers until 2019. Lotta talk about getting a ” honking big ship”, but it all came to nought. With a society that has gone all in on the multi culti Liberal Kool aid , any military procurement is impossible to sell. You have no idea how much this grieves me.
            The old man fought in Tribal class destroyers in the Second World War, he is spinning in his grave right now. It seems like all the western powers, except the U.S., have taken the peace dividend a little to literally. We have some of the finest sailors in the world, and some great frigates, but without Oilers and area air defence, it’s too little, too late. We seem to let things deteriorate and then rush to catch up, in 1939, that was acceptable, but today you fight with the fleet you have, and it may be too late. Truly embarrassed. Guess we will find out the hard way once again.
            I like the analogy!

          • Secundius

            Since October 1864, there have been at least Sixty-Three Terrorist Attacks IN Canada. I live just outside Washington, DC. and the nearest populated area in Canada, is St. Catherines, Ontario. Just 316-miles (508.55-kilometers) away, and I know of just ONE. I wonder why that is…

          • Ian MacCorquodale

            I know of four. The Ottawa shooting, 2 soldiers run over in Quebec, the via train plot and the plot to blow up the BC legislature. Our people must call it workplace violence too. At least the PM stated we are at war with Islamic Extremists, but they keep on importing more and more Muslims everyday. Too bad about the Christians, Yazidi’s and Kurds, among others that are being slaughtered wholesale. I have never been so ashamed to be a Canadian as I am right now. Theleftist liberal loonies seem to be running the show. It will undoubtedly end with blood in the streets, or a total capitulation to Islam. I really think Canadians have simply become too tolerant, and if you say anything your branded an islamophobe…I’m beyond caring anymore, if we can’t state our beliefs openly, then we have already lost the battle.

          • Secundius

            @ Ian MacCorquodale.

            The Outsider’s are the Rare Excepting and make Great News Headlines. I’m More Afraid of the Quite Domestic Ones, that Few if Any hear about…

          • Ian MacCorquodale

            Good point…All of the 4 attacks I’m aware of have been converts, or second generation Canadians. I have no problem with folks wanting a better life, and wanting to come here to find it. As long as they are properly vetted before they are admitted. Seems all western nations are of one mindset on this, and completely disregard their citizens valid concerns. It’s almost like they want a new world order or something….

            I guess this is what needs to happen because our birth rate has fallen off so much. I just hope that when the SHTF, the people remember who sold them, and their children out.

          • Secundius

            @ Ian MacCorquodale.

            God, I hope it’s NOT a New World Order their waiting for, and just something else. Because you might just Wake-Up from that Dream, Just to find out it NEVER was a Dream but the Real Thing…

          • Ian MacCorquodale

            I have never seen such a sea change in attitudes in my life. Governments don’t appear to be accountable to the governed any longer. I look at Sweeden, Germany, UK, and even the US. The Republicans were elected on the platform that they would stop Obamas over reach on immigration, they get the votes and support, are elected and do…nothing. McConnell says, we will fix it next time, well they got the mandate to do it this time, and caved. It seems both parties are two sides of the same coin. Sad. And it’s the same in all the Western countries, it looks to me that they are answerable to some entity other than those that put them in power. None of us are really adverse to bringing in immigrants, but it needs to be proportional. And we need to look after our own first, 93 million Americans are not in the labor force, and they bring in 30 million more people that will require government financial support, when the deficit is beyond anything even remotely reasonable…it just doesn’t make any sense. The American people, whom I have the greatest respect, and love for are being marginalized and sidelined for the people of other nations, and are paying the tab for their own destruction. No wonder Trump is getting the support he is, anyone who just tells it like it is, as politically incorrect as it is, will get the support of the people. The American people have got to be put first again. I never thought in my lifetime, that I would be afraid to cross the border and spend some time in my favourite country…that’s how much it appears that America has devolved, to me anyway. It is painful to watch the decline.

            The social justice warriors are using Saul Alinsky’s (?) playbook to divide society successfully. I have never seen the US so divided, blacks against whites, women against men, gays against straights…..or am I just seeing it from the perspective of an aging old school white cisgender has been? Whoa Matey…rant off. Please tell me I’m missing something, or I just don’t see the big picture….

          • Secundius

            @ Ian MacCorquodale.

            I live just 20-minutes from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. And Seeing Congress Up-Close and Personal and Unfiltered by the News Media. There Chit DOES STINK, believe me.

            Will Rogers (Actor/Humorist/Cowboy) said it the Best back in 29 May 1930. “America has the Best Politicians money can buy. The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned, it’s only in the Amount where the Republicans Excel”.

  • 2IDSGT

    By American standards, these ships are CHEAP. I wouldn’t mind seeing them with a “USNS” prefix.

    • Secundius

      @ 2IDSGT.

      Not possible, the “Jones” Act of 1920. The “Jones” Act, prohibits the US Government and the US Navy or agent’s in the Interest’s of the United States of America from buying Combat Ships from a Foreign Government. Either directly or Indirectly…

      • 2IDSGT

        Alright Sad Sack… try reading my comment again… carefully this time. Not that you actually comprehend enough English to give me anything but copy/paste from someone else’s comment on a loosely-related matter.

        • Secundius

          @ 2IDSGT.

          The “Jones” Act of 1920, also cover’s the US Merchant Marines…

          • 2IDSGT

            Are you seriously that stupid, or do you need a list of foreign-built/foreign-owned ships acquired or leased for US military purposes?

          • Secundius

            @ 2IDSGT.

            Just where EXACTLY DO I MENTION LEASING!!!. I SAID PURCHASING AND OWNING THEM. MAYBE IS “YOU” WHO NEED’S TO GET HIS EYE’S CHECKED. “MORON”…

          • 2IDSGT

            Definately not comprehending English.

    • Secundius

      @ 2IDSGT.

      Just “Thinking Out Loud”, but the US Army operated several ship’s during WW2. They could do the same here, too. Their not Prohibited by the “Jones” Act, and the Pentagon want a more Active Participation of the US Army in Naval/Marine Corps doctrine. Having two additional ship’s on the Mistral class, wouldn’t hurt Any, would it…

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  • Secundius

    @ Ian MacCorguodale.

    According to DID (Defense Industry Daily) of 10 August 2015, the Saudi’s are going to BUY both Mistral class Gator-Freighter’s or the Egyptian Navy…

    • Ian MacCorquodale

      I don’t blame the Saudi’s, see the Iran deal disaster has already started an arms race, and it hasn’t even been signed yet. Gonna get mighty warm in those highly insulated, optimized for Arctic operations Mistrals!

      In the meantime, Canada has just bought a 20 million dollar used freighter, and is spending 350 million to convert it to an oiler. I would laugh if it wasn’t so sad.

  • Rob C.

    Italy was looking in building their own Landing ship, this would save them money unless they can’t pony up the cash.

    Canadian Navy won’t because they need something more than Helicopter landing ship. They need underway replenishment ship and, part time transport. This maybe too expensive for their budget up keep.

  • Sailboater

    I think the Mistral Vessels would be perfect for Canada, With the ability to provide Disaster Aid and Relief to areas of the Canada
    Or the French could keep them and put one in Belize and one in old French West Africa for support and be hospital vessel.

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  • Secundius

    And NOW, Malaysia want’s to get into the Aircraft Carrier business, too. “Expensive Toy’s”…