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Russian Marines Getting New Ride

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And we're WORRIED about the Russians?

Russia said Wednesday it plans to buy a new helicopter-carrying assault warship from NATO-member France in an unprecedented deal experts say reflects Kremlin efforts to accelerate military modernization.

The agreement for purchase of one Mistral-class naval ship also equipped with hovercraft and landing craft will be completed by the end of the year, the Russian chief of staff, General Nikolai Makarov, said.

He did not name a price, but the Russian government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported this month that the ship, which can carry 16 heavy helicopters, 470 airborne troops and other gear, costs 700 million euros (995 million dollars).

So Ivan wants to build an amphibious capability for what? An invasion of Georgia...OK, good luck with that MedvedevPutin. And your defense manufacturing and shipbuilding infrastructure is so moribund you have to buy from the French!? Ouch, that's gotta hurt Mr. "Multi-polar World" guy.

But, oh yeah, you want to do "joint" production later -- uh, huh...

Makarov also said Russia wanted to forge a deal with France on joint production of more ships.

"We also want to establish production of a series of at least four or five ships of this class," he said.

Makarov, an influential proponent in Russia of modernizing the country's conventional armed forces quickly through procurement from Western suppliers, admitted the military needs equipment that Russia cannot produce at present.

"No country in the world can do everything" on its own, he said, adding: "Some things will have to be purchased" from foreign producers.

Hey, I know...We have an F-22 manufacturing line Congress wants to keep open -- the Russians are "looking to the West" to modernize -- Obama's reaching out to rebuild strained ties -- hmmm.

How ironic would it be to turn the F-22 argument on its head and say it's needed to supply the very enemy it was designed to fight?

...I guess I need some more coffee.

-- Christian

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