China has concluded a deal to pay US$2 billion for 24 Su-35 from Russia, 2 of which will be delivered this year. That is really a very expensive transaction, but to achieve quick modernization, China is willing and can afford such excessive price.
Some people may look down on China and say that China is unable to develop high technology on its own and is forced to pay high prices to import high-tech weapons. Those who are proud of China would reply that China certainly shall buy technology from abroad as it lags so much behind world technological standards. What they are proud of is that China has abundant funds not only for its own development but also the purchase of high technology.
When a country faces the threat of the attack from the strongest military in the world, it has to buy high-tech weapons and high weapon technology at very high price to quicken the development of its high-tech defense while conduct research and development on its own. They are happy that China is more than able to afford such purchases so that China has been able to modernize its military so quickly.
As for whether it is worthwhile to pay so much for Su-35s, US media National Interest’s article “Why Russia’s Enemies Should Fear the Su-35 Fighter” seems to justify the deal.
The article says, “The Su-35 may be the best jet-age dogfighter ever made and a capable missile delivery platform—but whether that will suffice for an air-superiority fighter in the era of stealth technology remains to be seen.”
That means Su-35 may perhaps deal with US stealth fighter jets. That being the case, Su-35 will be very useful to deal with US non-stealth fighter jets for years as it takes time for the US to replace stealth fighter jets for non-stealth ones.
The article speculates that China may try to copy Su-35 through reverse engineering just as it has been doing in making J-11 that is copied from Su-27. However, it fails to see that J-11, though uses Su-27 technology, is better than Su-27 as it uses quite much China’s own technology.
The article mentioned Su-35’s AL-41F1S thrust-vectoring engines that provide Su-35 with such high speed and wonderful maneuverability. China wants to import the engine but Russia will not sell unless it is sold along with Su-35.
I have information that China’s WS-15 is as powerful as AL-41F1S but no information whether it is a thrust-vectoring one. Anyway, by reverse engineering, China can learn from Su-35’s engine to improve its WS-15 and make it even more powerful for its J-20 stealth fighter. J-20 will thus be matchless in the world in speed and maneuverability. That alone means the high price paid for Su-35 is negligible.
There are quite a few other things that China may learn from Su-35 and incorporate in its J-20. For example, its IRBIS-E passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar that according to the article, is “able to track up to thirty airborne targets with a Radar-cross section of three meters up to 250 miles away—and targets with cross-sections as small 0.1 meters over fifty miles away” and its “OLS-35 targeting system that includes an Infra-Red Search and Track (IRST) system said to have a fifty-mile range—potentially a significant threat to stealth fighters.”
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on National Interest’s article “Why Russia’s Enemies Should Fear the Su-35 Fighter”, full text of which can be viewed at http://nationalinterest.org/blog/why-russias-enemies-should-fear-the-su-35-fighter-16995
Tsrus.cn says in its report that China had a long and hard discussion with Russia for the purchase of Russian Su-35 fighter jets for 7 years since 2008 until it entered into a contract of purchase of 24 Su-35s for USD2 billion in mid November.
The Russian media says that China finally agreed to the purchase due to the tension in the South China Sea between China and the U.S. China will not be able to deploy its J-20 and J-31 stealth fighters to deal with U.S. threat for a few years to come. The long range of Su-35 and its superiority to U.S. and Japanese fighter jets will enable China to patrol the Sea for 24 hours every day for the time being until it is able to deploy its own stealth fighters. Su-35’s ability to take off from a relatively short runway will enable it to use the runways China will build on its artificial islands.
Moreover, the high price of the purchase indicates the transfer of some technology to China, especially that in Su-35’s Irbis-E radar that can detect a stealth fighter jet like F-35 90 km away and Russian 117S engine.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Russia media: China purchases Su-35 for incessant patrol of the South China Sea and deployment on its artificial islands” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
China’s purchase of Russian Su-35 fighter jet has in the main been a done deal. It means that in the period from 2015 to 2020, Chinese air force will have superiority in technology over Japan and India due to its Su-35s.
According to an article at news.ifeng.com, China’s true intention to import Su-35s is not to obtain the 117S engines or Irbis-E passive phased array radar installed on Su-35 as neither of them is the world or Russia’s best. Russia’s T-50 fighter will use Type117 engine with much bigger boost and more advanced SH121 active phased array radar. Therefore, what is really valuable to China in Su-35 is its K-100 super long-range air-to-air missile with a speed exceeding Mach 3 and a maximum range of 300 km.
K-100 may be installed with a warhead with active guiding radar or an anti-radiation warhead. The Su-35 equipped with such missiles will enhance Chinese air force’s superiority in East Asia. In addition, it will greatly improve the combat effectiveness if it is installed in China’s new generation fighters such as J-10 and J-20.
Source: qianzhan.com “Why China’s Unshakable Determination to Buy Su-35? Russian expert discloses the shocking secret” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
- Exposure of China’s New J-16 Fighter Jet, a Rival to Russia’s Su-35 dated January 3, 2014
- China and Russia Have Concluded Export Agreement for 100 Su-35s dated June 25, 2013
- China-Russia Arms Deals Are Political for Cold War Partnership dated March 31, 2013
- The emergence of a new Cold War – China and Russia against the US dated March 25, 2013
- The beginning of a new Cold War: On Putin’s Beijing visit dated June 6, 2012
There have been reports that Russian military worries that providing China with advanced weapons may threaten Russian security while Russian military industry circles worry that China may steal Russian technology by reverse engineering, but Russian President Putin insists that there should be the arms deals. Why? For the sake of Sino-Russian Cold War partnership against the US.
China’s Chinese Communist Party (CCP) autocracy and Russian Putin autocracies may in essence support each other while the US pivot to Asia constitutes a threat to both China and Russia. Influential US Sixty Minutes Plus’s support in its recent report for Russian youngsters’ opposition to Putin’s autocracy is a clear example of US people’s mindset. As a democracy, US government has to obey the people’s will and the media can be dominant.
Chinese government’s mouthpiece huanqiu.com reflects the situation well in its report “Insider story of China’s purchase of Su-35 fighter, Radar and engine are the keys” on March 28. It says:
Canada’s Kanwa Defense monthly publishes an article in its April issue (published ahead of schedule) titled “Russia and China Signed Su-35 Purchase Deal”. The following are excerpts of the article:
The journal quotes top management of Russian military industry as saying that Russia and China have signed the “Confirmation Agreement on the Purchase of Su-35 Multipurpose Fighters”. It is not a formal purchase agreement, but the smooth implementation of the agreement means great progress in Sino-Russian relationship as strategic partners.
An authoritative source confirms that the number of purchase in the agreement is 24 and China does not request any technological transfer, including 117S engines.
Informed sources say that China hopes to purchase Su-35 because the IRBIS-E passive phase array radar and 117S engine Su-35 uses are the most advanced equipment in the world.
That was the first time that the most authoritative Russian military industry top management confirmed that Sino-Russian military cooperation would be greatly enhanced and regarded the purchase of Su-35 as a new wave of purchase. The source says, “At present, there are talks on specific technological details and prices; therefore, we have to prepare a formal contract, which maybe will be signed at the end of 2013. Intensive talks are being carried out mainly on what weapon system China needs.”
The journal’s analysts believe: There is fairly great possibility that China will sign the final purchase contract because:
The Su-35 issue is first of all a political decision. Russian source stressed: “All arms deals, especially major arms deals are political decisions.”
Chinese military has already entered the era of attaching great importance to static and strategic air force. Due to causes of military technology, Chinese air force needs a fourth-generation engine like 117S. With it, the J-20 fighter jet under development will have supersonic cruise capability and be upgraded as a standard fifth-generation fighter.
Nor will there be great possibility in any change in the radar in the Su-35, i.e. the IRBIS-E radar, sold to China, but there may be adjustment in software for Chinese version of Su-35. There is the allegation that in order to reduce the price, China may choose a different radar. However, according to Russian authoritative aviation experts, that does not make sense as the great increase in Su-35’s power output precisely aims at satisfying the need of IRBIS-E radar.
There seems to be a sign of renewed contact in the field of radar technological cooperation. The two sides are now discussing the possibility of joint development of passive phase array radar. That shows that China still has difficulties in developing that kind of radar.
If Chinese air force has really obtained Su-35, there will be a further all-round change in the air strategic situation in Asia-pacific region.
Source: huanqiu.com “Insider story of China’s purchase of Su-35 fighter, Radar and engine are the keys” (translated from Chinese by Chan Kai Yee)
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