Is Russia Offering China, Pakistan A Su-35 Aircraft Package Deal?

  • Our Bureau
  • 02:14 PM, September 21, 2015
  • 11379
Is Russia Offering China, Pakistan A Su-35 Aircraft Package Deal?
Sukhoi Su-35 Fighter Aircraft

Russia may be working out a deal to sell Su-35 aircraft simultaneously to Pakistan and China, making it the biggest order of the most advanced in-production fighter in Russia.

While Pakistani officials admitted to an international journal last week that they are considering buying SU-35, confirming earlier reports emanating from Russia, China is already in talks to buy 24 Su-35 aircraft from Russia.

A Russian source told, given that Russian weapon sales to Pakistan was a sensitive issue with its traditional partner, India, a way would have to found in which it would not appear that Russia was selling aircraft which are more advanced than the Su-30MKI with India.

One of the ways being considered was that the aircraft would be sold to China in stock form and then transferred to Pakistan after necessary modifications as per Islamabad's requirements. The source clarified that it was too early to speculate on the nature of the transaction and a lot depended on decisions taken at the political level. However, it was for sure that Moscow would not do anything that would disturb its relationship with New Delhi, the source added.

The Su-35 comes with NIIP Irbis-E passive electronically scanned array radar and the 117S engine which are more advanced than the radar and engine on board the Su-30MKI with India.

Another reason for Russia to sell to Pakistan, either directly or through China is the fear that the latter copies Russian platform and components and sells to foreign customers, the foremost among them is Pakistan. Russian officials have earlier indicated that a way out of the Chinese copycat syndrome would be to sell a higher number of planes to China so that the increased net value makes up for copying later on.

A source familiar with the developments said, by selling the same aircraft to both China and Pakistan, Russia would de-incentivise China from copying for export.

A Pakistani  official was quoted as saying in the international journal that his country's interest in the Su-35 was driven by the PAF's need for a twin-engine fighter "that can fly for a longer range than the JF-17 and penetrate more deeply into the enemy's territory". Pakistan has been increasingly concerning over its air force strength after India decided to buy Dassault Rafale fighters.

The Pakistani official's statement could also imply that such as aircraft either does not exist with China or is yet to meet certification requirements without which it will be ineligible for export.

China and Russia have been discussing the sale of 24Sukhoi-35 aircraft for years now. “During talks we informed the Chinese side that we can supply a standard version of the Su-35 fighter, which has been fully completed, tested, and received Russian Air Force certification," Sukhoi first deputy director general Boris Bregman said on the sidelines of Airshow China in Zhuhai November last year.


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