In Demand: Why China Purchases Russian Su-35 Fighter Jets

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… from Sputnik News,  Moscow

Has the F-35 turned into one of those too big to fail scenarios?

Has the F-35 turned into one of those too big to fail scenarios?

[ Editor’s Note: Some may say a $2bn plane contract is not a big deal, but one must examine the context, like this being one more step toward China and Russia not competing in arms sales but looking for ways to compliment each other when one has a technological edge.

Frankly, they are in catch up mode on this… kind of. NATO (or Lockheed) had wanted a universal dominant fighter plane to be produced in high numbers for large run cost savings. We all know what a con that has turned out to be with the F-35.

Russia is in a similar position to be the top fighter producer for Eurasia. The SU-35 is a proven contender and in combat, along with all of Russia’s other weapons systems, for live fire testing in Syria. The T-50 series is going into production next year to eventually compete with the F-35 white elephant.

All of those getting involved in the New Silk Road will understand the competitive edge that economy of scale creates, along with working closely together versus endless and often wasteful competition. It will give them an edge over seaborne traffic.

The massive internal infrastructure development will help move more of the population into less-congested areas, and will tremendously stimulate the growth of domestic markets to wean export dependent countries from that vulnerability. It also create an in-depth defense, which will make the region a less vulnerable target for neo-colonial predatorsJim W. Dean ]

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SU-35B

SU-35B

– First published  …  February 07,  2016

China’s purchase of 24 new Russian Su-35 aircraft is essential for Beijing. The Chinese Air Force will not only get new jets that could affect the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait, but may also allow the Chinese military to assess the progress and development of J-11.

The purchase of 24 Russian Su-35 in the amount of about $2 billion is the second largest transaction between the Russian and Chinese militaries, the Carnegie Moscow Center wrote.

A year ago, a contract was signed for the supply of four battalions of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems totaling around 1.9 billion dollars. The negotiations had begun in 2010-2011 and by 2014 many contentious issues had been resolved.

It has been reported that the deliveries of the equipment could begin in 2016 and the transfer of the main parts of the equipment may take place in 2017-2018.

Looking at the advantages of the purchase of Russian aircraft by China, it seems that the Chinese are currently looking for additional ways of developing their combat aircraft capabilities.  As noted by the publication, between the two Chinese aircraft that are being developed at the moment, the J-20 and J-31, only the J-20 may be viewed as a fifth generation fighter.

Chinese J31...still in development

Chinese J31…still in development

Hence, the J-31 uses stealth technology, but its main units and components are borrowed from the 4+ generation fighters such as the J-10B, J-16 and FC-1, the Carnegie Moscow Center wrote.

As for J-20, which embodies the full potential of the Chinese aviation industry, the aircraft’s potential combat readiness is not very clear at the moment. This is supported by all the available capability of similar technologies available in the US and other countries.

The publication taking note of the Russian Su-35, however, mentioned that the new jet is a maximum advancement of the earlier fighter jet the Su-27.

Therefore, the acquisition of the Su-35 would allow the Chinese military to assess the progress and development of J-11. The acquisition may act as a guide showing the Russian approach to problem solving in stealth technology making it easier to further enhance the capabilities of the Chinese aviation.

It is probable that with the supply of 24 Su-35’s more contracts for units or various components for the new Chinese fighters, as well as technology transfer and R & D for the benefit of Chinese customers, may follow.

For Russia, the successful delivery of the fighter jets to China will further improve its position in foreign markets. It is expected that the next buyer of the Russian Su-35 may be Indonesia.

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2 Responses to "In Demand: Why China Purchases Russian Su-35 Fighter Jets"

  1. JohninMK  February 9, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Jim’s comment that the F-35 is a ‘white elephant’ is pretty harsh and probably way off the mark. As ED and the main article point out, the Su-35 is just the latest iteration of the Su-27, one of the most successful fighters ever built.

    In many ways the US equivalent, the F-15 is similar in its development. A major difference is in their naming. Perhaps the discussion would be different if the Su-35 was perhaps called the Su-27xx. Bit like NATO keeping the Flanker name and putting a letter after it to denote the different version. Although I admit that there are many more versions of the Su.

  2. Edward Dodge  February 8, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I liked the way Russia has continually upgraded the original Su-27, to the Su-30, Su-34, and now Su-35. Unlike the US, which would start with a whole new platform from the ground up, continual improvements and upgrades have kept the Sukhoi competitive for a lot less money. I don’t think Chinese jet engine developement is on a par with Russian design agencies. They may also want to study design characteristics of the Su-35’s engines.

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