Hi-tech gear stolen from Mistral

Electronic equipment, including hard drives and a device operating the helicopter carrier’s communications system, has been stolen off the Mistral ship built for Russia in the French port of Saint-Nazaire.

An investigation into the case of the missing equipment has been launched, French media reported. “Sensitive material” could allegedly be stolen from one of the amphibious-assault vessels, constructed by the French in a multi-million dollar deal with Moscow.

The items, which were announced missing on November 25, could have been stolen a week prior to that date, the prosecutor’s office of the French city of Rennes reported.

According to AFP, two computer hard drives, a motherboard, and a graphics card – as well as a device with a program operating the carrier’s communications system – have disappeared from the ship.

All the equipment was installed by French military electronics firm Thales, and could only be operated on the helicopter carrier.

A spokesman for French shipbuilder DCNS, Emmanuel Godez, confirmed the theft to TASS news agency, but said the unique articles – which he refused to name – did not contain any secret or sensitive data.

French ship builders STX, who are in charge of the Russian-ordered Mistral ship’s construction, also confirmed that some items went missing. The company said a relevant statement had been submitted by the corporation to French police.

According to Le Point magazine, a preliminary investigation did not find any evidence of a break-in. Russians are reportedly not suspected to be behind the theft, a spokesperson from France’s Defense Ministry said.