Russia and China may soon sign a $4-bln contract on the delivery of 48 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets to the Chinese air force, Russia’s Kommersant business daily said on Tuesday.
“The sides have practically agreed on the delivery of 48 Su-35 multirole fighters, worth $4 billion, to China,” Kommersant said citing a source in the Russian defense industry.
According to the paper, the only obstacle remaining is Moscow’s demand that Beijing should guarantee the protection of copyrights on the production of Su-35s without proper licensing.
“Moscow is not only aiming to ensure its presence on the Chinese [combat aircraft] market, but also attempting to prevent the potential copycat production of Russian aircraft for subsequent sales to third parties with predatory pricing,” a Russian government source told Kommesant.
China has a record of building advanced combat aircraft based on Russian and other foreign designs, and relied almost entirely on copies of Soviet designs until the Sino-Soviet split in 1960.
The Chinese Chengdu J-10 fighter is based heavily on the cancelled Israeli Lavi fighter demonstrator, the Shenyang J-11 is a replica of the Su-30 Flanker-C, and the Chinese/Pakistani Chengdu FC-1 iuses Russian engines and other technology from the MiG-29. The J-15 is a Chinese-built derivate of the Sukhoi T-10K-3, a carrier-borne fighter prototype which China acquired from Ukraine.
The Su-35, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems.
The aircraft has been touted as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology."