Russian helicopter carrier purchase imminent-France

PARIS, June 16 Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:47am EDT

PARIS, June 16 (Reuters) - Russia is close to signing a deal to buy four Mistral class helicopter carriers made by a French-led consortium, a spokesman for the French defence ministry said on Thursday.

"I confirm that the signature is imminent but I don't know when or where," Philippe Ponties said.

The new Mistral carriers are likely to cost between 400 million and 500 million euros ($707 million) each.

Under details of the deal given in the past, they were to be built by French shipyard companies DCNS and STX along with Russia's state-run United Shipbuilding Corporation, or OSK. DCNS is a quarter-owned by defence electronics group Thales (TCFP.PA). [ID:nLDE74P14J] ($1=.7072 Euro) (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Brian Love)

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