France will sell two Mistral-class landing ships originally intended for Russia to Egypt, according to announcement made by the office of French President Francois Hollande Wednesday.
According to the short announcement, Holland met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi Wednesday and negotiated the “principle and terms of the purchase.”
Egypt has been in negotiations with the French government for a short period and the talks will continue into October as both sides settle on an exact price, according to a report in the French newspaper La Tribune.
The two ships had originally been built for the Russian navy, but their sale was canceled in September 2014 because of Russia’s involvement in the war in Ukraine and mounting pressure from NATO for France to call off the sale. The $1.7-billion-dollar purchase was part of a 2011 deal between the Russian defense export agency Rosoboronexport and the French company DCNS, according to a U.S. Navy assessment. The first part of the deal would have France build and sell the initial two Mistrals, while Russia would contract and build an additional two in Russia.
France refunded Russia $1 billion for the cancellation but did not have to pay penalties.
The ships can carry around 150 troops and more than a dozen helicopters.
According to TASS, a Russian news agency, it will cost over $300 million to reconfigure the two Mistrals that were originally outfitted for the Russian Navy.
TASS also reported Wednesday that Russia and Egypt had signed a deal for Egypt’s purchase of 50 Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters from Russia. According to the report the purchase could include a variant of the Ka-52 (the Ka-52 Katran), which specifically designed for the Mistrals Russia had intended to acquire.