Russia, China Continue Negotiations for Su-35S Fighters

Ongoing changes in the political and military landscape have prompted Russia and China into a stronger military and industrial alliance. Both countries feel increasingly isolated by the U.S. and its allies. Yet while the expansion of ties between the Russian Armed Forces and China’s People’s Liberation Army comes as no surprise, it has proven slow to materialize.

Russia started negotiations to sell the Chinese on a batch of 24 Su-35S single-seat multirole fighters in 2012. Speaking to the media recently, an official with Russia’s arms export agency Rosoboronexport acknowledged that the talks have seen only limited progress. “The matter is at the stage of the reconciliation procedure,” said Sergei Ladygin, Rosoboronexport deputy director general, who headed the company’s delegation to the Euronaval 2014 conference in Paris. “Russia and China continue discussions on the matter of the Su-35S. The process of preparing mutually agreeable documents goes on,” Ladygin stated.

Russia, China Continue Negotiations for Su-35S Fighters
Russia, China Continue Negotiations for Su-35S Fighters

Among other issues, Ladygin attributed the slow pace of the negotiations to recent procedural changes in sale of equipment to China. “In the past, we signed contract first and then spent a couple of years awaiting various approvals from the government. Today, we do the reconciliation procedure first, and then sign a contract.”

Similar issues are apparently delaying long-expected contracts for Almaz-Antei S-400 Triumph long-range surface-to-air missiles and Amur-1650 diesel-electric submarines. The “coming” sales of the three aforementioned weapon systems were announced about two years ago.

Meanwhile, Russia continues to supply of Mil Mi-17 helicopters to China, with shipments exceeding 300 units. These are supplemented by ongoing deliveries of a relatively small number of Mi-26 superheavy and Kamov Ka-32A11BC firefighting rotorcraft. Other items Russia exports to China include four-engine Ilyushin Il-76 airlifters repaired and upgraded from the secondary market, AL-31FN Series 3 turbofan engines for China’s J-10 fighter and D-30KP-2 engines that power in-service Il-76 jets and newly assembled B-6 bombers.


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