Russia Begins Su-35 Shipments to China

PHOTO by Vitaly Ankov / RIA Novosti

A source inside the defence industry told Lenta.ru that Russia has begun shipping Su-35 fighter jets to China.

The spokesperson said that China would receive four aircraft in total. The appearance and design of the jets are quite close to the Russian versions and will even have the Russian interface. The main difference between the fighters used by Russia and those that will be exported to China, apart from the identification system used, is that the exported aircraft will be outfitted with China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.

The contract between China and Russia for 24 Su-35 jets was first announced in November 2015. According to the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, the deal is worth around $2.5 billion.

The contract negotiations took several years. One of the most contested points was the total number of aircraft to be delivered. China initially wanted to purchase 10-12 aircraft along with a license to assemble the fighter jets themselves; Russia’s counteroffer was the sale of 40-50 jets already assembled in Russia at the Komsomolsk plant in Russia’s Far East. The final agreement was a compromise by both sides.

The Su-35 is a multifunctional fighter jet that will be the last airplane to use the T-10S platform, the same one used by the Su-27 and Su-30 aircraft. The Su-35 has the same aerodynamics of the preceding Su-27 and is partially outfitted with fifth-generation combat avionics equipment. The Russian Aerospace Forces are set to receive 96 Su-35s by 2020 according to Russia’s State Armament Programme.