New Russian helicopter carriers can be converted into hospital ships

Like France, which deployed its Mistral and Dixmude assault helicopter carriers to transfer patients affected by Covid19 to Corsica, the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean, the Russian Navy deploying its hospital ship Irtysh in Vladivostok from April 13, 2020 to lighten the burden on hospitals in the region, on the way to being saturated by the influx of patients. If this episode led the Russian Defense Minister, Victor Shoïghou, to reconsider the advisability of building one or more hospital ships, the budgetary constraints and the operational pressure of the Russian Shipyards are likely to, if not cancel, at least. postpone such a program.

This is the reason why the Russian Defense Ministry ordered the Zaliv shipyards, located in Crimea and in charge of the construction of the two new 2-ton helicopter carriers of the Russian Navy's 25.000 project, to integrate into the ship design the possibility of transforming it into a hospital ship, by arranging the necessary operational equipment on board the ship. The objective of the Admiralty is to be able to take advantage of the existing installations on board, such as the helicopter hangar as well as the rooms intended to accommodate the marine troops, to be able to accommodate the sick or injured in the event of a pandemic or natural disaster. To do this, spaces that can potentially be transformed into a reception area for patients will receive equipment facilitating their transformation, such as an oxygen distribution network.

The Mistral class PHAs from which the Russian helicopter carriers are inspired are equipped with a hospital comprising 2 operating theaters, 1 scanner, 7 intensive care beds and 70 medical beds.

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