Paris: French shipbuilder DCNS will start construction of the first warship for the Russian Navy and it has received advance payment from Moscow under a $1.2-billion contract, the DCNS press service said.
The two countries signed a contract in June on two French-built Mistral class amphibious assault ships including the transfer of sensitive technology.
A Mistral-class ship is capable of carrying 16 helicopters, four landing vessels, 70 armoured vehicles, and 450 personnel.
"The advance payment was received several weeks ago and work on the first ship is getting underway," the service said. "The first ship will be delivered in 2014 and the second in 2015.
Construction of the second ship should start in several months and will proceed simultaneously with the first, but will depend on when the full payment for the first ship is made, a DCNS source said.
A number of Russia`s neighbours have expressed concern over the deal, in particular Georgia and Lithuania.
The Russian military has said it plans to use Mistral ships in its Northern and Pacific fleets.
Many Russian military and industry experts have questioned the financial and military sense of the purchase. Some believe that Russia simply wants to gain access to advanced naval technology that could be used in the future in potential conflicts with NATO and its allies.