Decades of stark Russian denial have finally given way under constant pressure from China.
After waiting and wanting to buy the Sukhoi SU-35 fighter jet since the 1990s, China is finally getting 24 of them, along with four submarines from Moscow, Forbes reports.
The Russians finally warmed up to the deal (which was trimmed from an order for 48), marking the first big military equipment purchase between the two nations in over a decade.
The Russians are said to have more confidence that China can’t copy their engines, and are also said to need the SU-35 orders because Russia’s defence Department is ordering follow-on buys of new upgraded Sukhoi SU-35s instead.
The deals raised concern among some regional defence players — namely India.
The new acquisitions seem to be just the beginning for military cooperation, with plans for even more bullets and bombs down the line.
BBC News reports:
“The Su-35 fighters can effectively reduce pressure on China’s air defence before Chinese-made stealth fighters come online,” the People’s Daily was quoted as saying.
It said the two countries were expected to co-operate further in developing military technology – including for S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missiles, 117S large thrust engines, IL-476 large transport aircraft and IL-78 aerial tankers.
But they aren’t just giving weapons to China. It seems, however, that Moscow is playing all sides in arming its neighbours. As UPI reports, there’s a huge aerospace exhibition happening in Malaysia this week, with the goal of bringing on more Asian nations as customers, which already account for 43 per cent of Russia’s military sales.
[Russian company] Rosoboronexport is featuring an interactive display system at this year’s event to show advanced defence products such as the Su-35 multirole fighter, the Yak-130 combat trainer aircraft, Mi-28NE combat helicopter, Mi-35M combat transport helicopter, Ka-52 combat reconnaissance-and-attack helicopter, Mi-26T heavy-lift helicopter, Gepard-3.9 frigate, and Project 14310 Mirazh and Project 12200 Sobol patrol boats.
Rosoboronexport is also spotlighting its latest air defence/anti-missile systems. Among them: the Antey-2500, Buk-M2E, Tor-M2E, Igla-S missile systems and Pantsir-S1 gun-missile system.
As correspondents at BBC point out, Russia and China seem to be acting as a counterbalance to American military dominance. They certainly have a point, with the United States spending nearly six times that of Russia and China combined.
The Russian-made jet will join a fleet that includes China’s own J-20 stealth fighter, a fifth-generation aircraft that some believe came from technology stolen from a downed U.S. fighter.
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