The 8,500-ton Arctic multirole ship, the ‘Ivan Papanin’, is being built by the Admiralty Shipyard in St Petersburg.
The Admiralty Shipyard is a leading Russian producer of icebreakers for civilian and military use.
Shipyard chief, Aleksandr Buzakov, also said that a second ship will be laid down in 2019 and would be ready for service in 2022.
He added that the shipyard expects the Russian Defence Ministry to contract more ships of this class, once the two pilot boats prove their performance.
Mr Buzakov said: “We happen to have been specialising in building civilian ice-rated ships for the last 25 years.”
The move signals the Russian Navy’s commitment to project a presence in the Arctic region.
The Admiralty Shipyard is also constructing two advanced diesel-electric attack submarines. The class lead, the ‘St Petersburg’, was commissioned 2010, but only as a “test service.”
Its construction was underfunded and it was not fully constructed at the time.