Monday, March 05, 2012

China requests Su-35 fighters, S-400 SAM from Russia [UPDATED]

With its defense budget continuing to grow, China is once again turning to Russia for advanced aircraft and missile defense technology

According to Flight Global, Beijing has requested to purchase an unspecified number Sukhoi Su-35 4++ generation multirole air superiority fighters and Almaz-Antei S-400 long-range air defense systems from Moscow.

Alexander Fomin, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, said Moscow was considering the applications, which were made last year.

A Russian Federation Ministry of Defense source subsequently told the Kommersant business newspaper that China was seeking to acquire 48 Su-35s in a deal valued at an estimated US$4 billion, one of the largest in recent years.

While a deal is almost closed, Moscow has reportedly made it conditional on Beijing guaranteeing it would respect copyrights to prevent copycat production. Last year, China cancelled an order for 95 Su-27s for local assembly after local manufacturer Shenyang launched serial production of the Jian-11 (J-11), which is of comparable (read: probably stolen) design.

China, which already deploys the Russian-made S-300PMU2 “Favorit” (NATO: SA-10) air defense system (with a range of 195km), hopes to field the S-400 (NATO: SA-20 “Triumf”) starting in 2015. The S-400 has a 400km range, or about twice that of the US-made Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3).

A different version of this article appeared in the Taipei Times on March 9 and can be accessed here.

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