By 2014, with Crimea annexed, a civil war in the Ukraine, and the Middle East facing a modern production of the 30 Years’ War, Moscow was talking about basing the ships in their namesake home ports: RFS Vladivostok on the Pacific at Uliss Bay, near Vladivostok; and RFS Sevastopol in newly-annexed Crimea’s port of Sevastopol.
Tactical: Control of littoral regions, which includes large stretches of Russia’s coasts, zones like the Baltic Sea and much of the Black Sea, and influence along Middle Eastern coasts, depends heavily on helicopters and UAVs.
Mistral Class LHDs, designed for both a large helicopter aviation role as well as amphibious landing and support of troops, would go a long way toward improving Russia’s capabilities in these areas.
February 2011 reports had suggested that the first 2 ships would be deployed to the Pacific Fleet near Vladivostok, but it’s certainly possible to shift the ships to other theaters given enough time, infrastructure, and planning.
Russia wants that kind of versatility – even as her neighbors fear it.
Asantha Kalyananda, NLB Deputy General Managers and NLB Assistant General Managers participated in this occasion.The Russian order represented an extension of some larger trends, but it was still a sea change on several fronts: strategic, tactical, and industrial.