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France May Sell the Mistral-Class Warship Built for Russia To China

During the course of a visit by the French Navy to Shanghai between May 9-15, France may try to sell its Mistral-class amphibious assault ship to China, according to Duowei News, an overseas new outlet run by overseas Chinese.

The official microblog of the PLA Navy said that the French task force visiting China consists of two warships including the Dixmude, a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, and Aconit, a La Fayette-class frigate. Dixmude is the third and last Mistral-class vessel designed for the French navy. It is the first time for a Mistral-class amphibious assault ship to visit a Chinese port.

Mistral-class amphibious assault ship
Mistral-class amphibious assault ship

Russia signed a contract with France to purchase two Mistral-class amphibious assault ships but the deal was scuttled due to sanctions imposed over the Ukraine crisis, even though construction of both vessels — named the Vladivostok and, fittingly if ironically, Sevastopol — had been completed.

The French Navy is unlikely to commission the two new ships and one option choice would be to try to sell them to other potential buyers including Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt or India. Even though China already has plans to develop its own amphibious assault ship, the country may still purchase the Vladivostok and Sevastopol as models to copy.