Russia to Sell China Su-35 Multirole Fighter Jets
Image Credit: Wikicommons

Russia to Sell China Su-35 Multirole Fighter Jets


Russia and China are moving closer to concluding an agreement whereby Moscow would sell Beijing advanced 4++ generation multirole fighter jets, a senior official from Russia’s state-run defense industry told media outlets over the weekend.

Viktor Komardin, deputy head of the state-run Rosoboronexport, which is in charge of regulating defense imports and exports, told RIA Novosti on Saturday that negotiations for the sale of Russian Su-35 fighter jets to China are ongoing, and an agreement was likely to be reached sometime in 2014.

“Talks are ongoing, but the deal is unlikely to be sealed before the year’s end. The signing will most likely take place next year,” Viktor Komardin said.

The report noted that Komardin did not discuss how many fighter jets China was interested in purchasing, but did say that negotiations included Beijing purchasing ordnance for the advanced, highly maneuverable aircraft.

RIA Novosti also reported that the head of Rosoboronexport recently told Chinese pilots that they would “soon” have the opportunity to fly the Su-35s.

Moscow and Beijing began negotiating the sale of Su-35s in 2010, but progress was slow and talks were temporarily suspended last year over Russian concerns that China would reverse engineer the plane’s engines and passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar systems, according to The Taipei Times.

China has a long history of developing local variants of Russian military systems it purchases from Moscow. China’s Shenyang J-11B, for example, is believed to be based on the Sukhoi Su-27SK fighter jet. This in part led Russia to drastically reduce the amount and sophistication of its arm sales to China for many years. However, recent years have seen a sharp uptick in Moscow’s defense exports to Beijing.

Ahead of Xi Jinping’s trip to Russia in March, China’s state-run media reported that the two sides had concluded one of their largest defense deals in over a decade when China agreed to purchase 24 Su-35 jet fighters from Russia and jointly develop four Lada Class air-independent propulsion submarines, which China would then purchase.

However, Russia immediately denied that such an agreement had been reached and even claimed that arms sales would not be discussed by Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the visit. This created confusion on the state of the talks and called into question whether Russia was even still interested in selling China the Su-35s. The recent comments by Rosoboronexport officials clarify that Russia is still indeed interested in selling China the jets. Now, it is merely a question of whether the two sides can come to terms on the specifics of an agreement.

Assuming they can, the Su-35 multirole fighter jets should greatly enhance China’s air capabilities. Although the Su-35 is derived from the Su-27 fighters that China already has bought and copied, it comes with significant improvements, leading Russia to refer to it as a 4++ generation aircraft.

According to Air Force Technology, the Su-35 “has high manoeuvrability (+9g) with a high angle of attack, and is equipped with high-capability weapon systems that contribute to the new aircraft's exceptional dogfighting capability. The maximum level speed is 2,390km/h or Mach 2.25.”

Air Force Technology also reports that the Su-35 is capable of carrying numerous air-to-air, air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles. It also says the airplane can be armed with various guided bombs, and that its sensors “can detect and track up to 30 airborne targets with a radar cross section (RCS) of 3m² at ranges of 400km using track-while-scan mode.”

The same source notes that the aircraft are "powered by two Sturn / UFA AL-31F 117S turbofan engines with thrust-vectoring nozzle control, each supplying 86.3kN thrust or 142.2kN with afterburn."

Here's a video from Russia Today (RT) of the Su-35 "rocking" the Paris Air Show this year. The descripton of the video says that "the Su-35 has been dubbed the 'UFO' for its outstanding maneuverability.

September 18, 2013 at 10:53

Ahahah, I would really like to see a electronic warfare aircraft (growler) fighiting the Su-35!!! Or a F-35 maybe, the guys in USAF are worried about this russian dude (about F-35 vs Su-35), why you’re not?

September 18, 2013 at 10:38

*without making

September 18, 2013 at 10:36

Before leaving these kind of comments you should think about a little thing, China don’t buy russian fighters since mid-2000, so why boeing now and why only 24? Can they defend the country with those? No! Are they gong to buy more? Not really, they nave a ton of version of flankers in development. So what’s the meaning of his agreement (and we don’t even know if it’s true)? What is the single most complex part on a aircraft? THE ENGINE my friends!!! Would Russia sell it to China without mailing a lot of money from the sell? Why in the world?! China is developing two stealth fighters, why buy the last version of a project born in the seventies??

September 18, 2013 at 10:20

Oh my God, I’m dying… I’m laughting so much that I think I’m gonna explode!! You know you are the only human in the world that think Vietnam is actually more powerful that China? I can’t think of a single moment in history where this has been true, maybe you come form a different universe?

September 16, 2013 at 13:27

How abouts USA copy Movac Piranha and name it Striker

September 14, 2013 at 04:50

Anyone who knows about high-tech product development will know that reverse engineering is a fact of life even for firms highly capable. There is always value in investigating different ways and ideas. Reference established by other skillful people is always a valuable object of study.

Those with good engineering spirit will value other professionals’ work, accomplishment and establishments.

People just love sensational presumptions, one way or the other.

September 13, 2013 at 09:42

The Chinese will copy some, steal some, and invent some.  This is the age of the hard working anti-hero.

Another crux is that the chance of any actual hot war is very low; much is posturing. The chance of proving actual effectiveness is quite limited.

Will anyone want to go to war against China after 2050, after it has copied some, stole some, and invented some? In order to avoid war, what are certain things that will likely happen?


Nguyen van Trinh
September 12, 2013 at 09:33

chinese economy is only one quarter of Vietnam's economy. So, they are going to steal from Russia. The chinese cannot even pay for their rice imports last year. Pathetic and so very sad.

papa john
September 12, 2013 at 09:07

Poor Russians, they will soon find out their F-35s will be copied and named J-something..with chinese characteristics.

September 11, 2013 at 13:12

All the bragging and hot air about chinese military power from chinese posters in this forum and elsewhere, one would wonder why chinese don't just build their own? Oh, they can't. Oppps, all lies and deception, just like the trillion and trillion USD economy we heard so much about. How sad and pathetic.

September 11, 2013 at 06:29

The Chinese are proud or their claims of advanced indigenous development. Chicoms are always a contradiction as one only needs to read that the Chicoms are buying the SU-35, Lada class attack submarines. and the S-400 missile defense system from the Russians.

That's why even the Russians tend to joke that Chinese R&D really translates to "Recieve & Duplicate!"




Another Guest (from Australia)
September 10, 2013 at 19:49



I wouldn't say the Su-35 may not stand a chance against US frontline aircraft.

September 10, 2013 at 16:31

How pathetic. Poor mainlanders..I have read the same logic many times in the mainland Chinese internet. "We can build jets as good as the Russians do, but since Russians need money, we are buying from them". What kind of logic is this? Mainland Chinese were somehow trying to avoid admitting this fact that what they could produce were only third-rate copies..J-11? J-15? Copycat junks. Yuan class submarine? Coffins with engine.

September 10, 2013 at 15:46

Yer absolutely right. Them Su-35s gud only for battling MiG-21 jets. Against Super Hornets, Advanced Hornets, new Growlers, and F-15 Silent Eagles the Su-35 with its PESA won't stand a chance. The F-35 with its avionics can easil do a stuxnet job on the Su-35 leaving it completely blind. In other words, the SU-35 is gud only for fighting MiG-17s and MiG-21s. Thanks, buudddy.

September 10, 2013 at 15:38

This is good news for russian-chinese military cooperation. I welcome the deal.

September 10, 2013 at 13:33

India (used to be the largest buyer of Russian jets) resorting to buy French jets has prompted Russia to sell elsewhere. China is the obvious customer. Its better for both parties to overcome red tape and make the sale. SU-35 may not stand a chance against US frontline attack craft, but not all China's neighbors are equipped with better planes.

This is a transaction waiting to happen. Russian and Chinese interests align perfectly on most matters around the world.

Joint development of Lada class submarines is another huge step forward.

September 10, 2013 at 11:12

This is the main disadvantage of buying large number of weaponries. It has tendency to copy the technology and make another version which is same as original one ( and sell it to lower price). China competes with other major arms suppliers like USA, Russia, Israel, France, and others using the copied arms technology. Even it is cheaper than original counterparts, it is low standard quality.  

September 10, 2013 at 10:11

The Russians will sell:

1. they need the money

2. they dont actually care about the su-35 anymore; its all about the 5 gen stealth.

3. China also doesnt really care about the su35, as they have enough to defend their own airspace without it, and they are also into 5 gen stealth.

The su35 is really about realigning the Russian and Chinese arms industry. China is loer to looking for a good fighter to boost their capabilities while Russia is looking for some extra cash to boost their areospace development. Right now their interests align, so there is no reason why they would not sell. Technology doesnt stay cutting edge forever, and in a few years mabye Russia wont even be abole to get custormers for the su35 if stealth really performs as advertised.


September 10, 2013 at 10:06

That's a great looking fighter!


I don't care how much China pays them for it; it's not enough because they're just going to steal it like they do everything else.

September 10, 2013 at 06:55

The Russians do not trust the Chinese on technology issue …… it seems obvious that the variant that the Russians would offer to sell, would be a few notches lower than the best that the Russians have …….. after all, the Russians have burned their fingers once with the Su-27 sale, which was reverse engineered by the Chinese, due to which the Chinese order was drastically reduced in numbers …….

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