MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia wants to buy a French helicopter carrier and talks are already under way for what would be Moscow's first major foreign military purchase, Interfax news agency has reported.
Russia is trying to reequip its outdated Soviet-era military as part of a broader defense reform but has until now focused on buying hardware from its own arms industry, which remains one of the country's key export sectors.
Interfax, quoting unnamed sources in the Russian Navy headquarters on August 4, confirmed earlier reports in the French media about Moscow's interest in buying a multipurpose carrier.
"The possibility of buying a Mistral-class helicopter carrier was discussed at the naval show held in St. Petersburg in June," Interfax quoted a naval headquarters source as saying.
A decision on such a large foreign purchase might be two to three years away and no budget funds are currently available, the source was quoted as saying.
The "Kommersant" newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying such a deal was extremely likely.