The net result of the mistral deal is
- it succeeded in delaying Russia the specific naval (design & operational) capability by atleast 16 years.
I don't agree.
The money they paid they got back and actually got more back than they paid because the value of the ruble changed during that period in their favour.
They effectively gave the Russians complete access to a current French warship with all the electronics details intact, the Mistral is a mature and tested design which was basically handed to the Russians for nothing. More importantly they tutored the Russian shipyards that made half of the ships in how to make them the way they make them, and of course most of the systems on board these ships are Russian so they are making money completing contracts with Egypt for the aircraft and components and systems that are fitted (their own top secret stuff was not fitted... it would have been fitted after the hand over...).
What they probably did was shorten the development time and ensure better design decisions were made for their own designs which should be ready mid 2025 or so, which is about 8 years after they would have gotten their Mistrals, but it means now they can better modify the design to suit them better.
It will make the ship they end up building even better... which is good for the Russians.
And how did it end? The Frenchies giving a stupid refund and the even more stupid Russians agreeing to accept the approx $1.8billion refund. Russia should have settled for nothing less than sueing the French for not less than $11.8billion and making sure they recieved that amount and investing it in more combat ships!
They never would have paid that... I doubt they could even afford to pay that, and demanding it an not getting it would just make Russia look stupid.
It is enough that Russia and any country paying attention learns the lesson that the French can't be trusted.
Instead Russia should have sanctioned French items on Russian wares and kicked Turbomecca out of Ka-226 and fast tracked on Klimov substitute which was/is dragging on due to lack of funding.
Russia is doing that anyway...
Don't you love the irony... Vlad has mentioned the quality of French jet engines, but a short while back the French suggested that the Russians work on developing the high spec, high tech high temperature titanium components in most of the best commercial jet engines, so Russian companies could replace US companies that currently make them for French engines... of course you could do that... and in fact should do that, but also do the same for Russian engines so they can replace French engines in Russian projects. The result will be the French buying Russian components for their own engines and those engines they export, while Russia will also be making its own engines with presumably improved performance too... the only loser would be the US...
In 2014 Russia did not have enough ships for setting up such expeditionary group, if not stealing the best ships from each fleet, thus seriously reducing other missions capability.
I rather suspect that while the Mistral contract was going ahead other programmes to develop support ships and indeed the serious port based infrastructure to operate such vessels was also being put into place... I rather suspect when the Frenchies folded like the back page of a MAD comic, those plans were rescheduled and restructured because they will get such ships at some stage and the infrastructure needs to be ready when they are ready.
I would suspect having two Mistral carriers would have spurred the upgrades of the current cold war destroyer types (sovremmeny and udaloy).
Btw, I remember having read the comment of a British expert (maybe a retired admiral but I am not sure), telling that the best thing for the british navy would be to open the hatches and let the queen Elizabeth and her sister ship sink on the moment they are delivered. That would save a lot of money and prevent decline in the capability of the royal navy....
I would say the same applies to the F-35... that white elephant is going to suck up money that most air forces who are receiving it probably need to spend on other things that need fixing more than they need another fighter aircraft.
Of all the things NATO needs one of them is not a new fighter... they could do with a lot of other things first, but now the operational costs of the F-35 mean they probably wont get it...
Of course the increase in fire power of the new Russian ships, that would be the purpose of a 20K cruiser... SAMs to not just defend itself, but also the ships that are operating with it... that is what Rif and Rif-M were for in the Soviet Navy.
Conversely the Kuzentsov shouldn't need a cruiser to protect it... the point of the K is to protect the other ships it is operating with using air cover and AWACS aircraft.
For the UK their carriers are their projection and attack platform that is protected by ships.
Georgia & Japan wouldn't do anything between 2014 & now, so those UDKs would be training.
Besides, in the closed Black & Okhotsk Seas the VMF could use smaller ships & land based aviation to protect them; they wouldn't be landing marines on NATO or Japanese shores or chasing pirates in the Indian Ocean any time soon.
The two mistrals they bought would have both gone to the Pacific Fleet to protect the Kuriles and help with the expansion east.
If they bought two more Mistrals they would have gone to the Northern Fleet to support arctic ops.