Russia to Ink Deal to Supply China with 24 Su-35 Fighter Jets

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PARIS — Russian aerospace giant United Aircraft Corp. plans to ink a deal this year to supply the Chinese military with two dozen Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter jets, an official said.

When asked for the status of the talks between the two countries on the sale, Yuri Slyusar, the head of the Moscow-maker of civilian and military aircraft confirmed the pending agreement this week at the Paris Air Show, held outside the city at the historic Le Bourget airfield. Sukhoi is a subsidiary of United Aircraft.

“The question should go to the federal service on military cooperation, not us,” he said during a briefing with reporters. “Our position is that we still believe that we will sign the contract to sell 24 aircraft this year.”

China recently conducted the first test flight of the J-11D, an upgraded version of the J-11B that’s based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-27. But the People’s Liberation Army Air Force still wants the twin-engine Su-35, reportedly to go up against Japan’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and India’s Su-30MKO and T-50 aircraft.

In information distributed at the show, United Aircraft said the Su-35 “4++” generation fighter is one of the company’s “top priority programs.”

Recent flight and weapons testing showed the Su-35 not only meets specifications, but also performs better than other fourth-generation fighters, including the U.S.-made F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 aircraft — even the new F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighter, according to a fact-sheet. “Thus, it is a potent rival to the F-22A aircraft,” it states.

The Su-35 is being outfitted with new engines, avionics and other systems from Russia’s own fifth-generation fighter program, the T-50 PAK-FA.

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Valvatorez

    Too bad the USAF brass is afflicted with NIS syndrome and too stupid to buy foreign fighters like unlike the PLAAF.
    Of course the F-35 is inferior to fourth gen fighters. It was never about competing with peer nations. It’s about bleeding tax payer dollars.

    • NathanS

      How so? With combat load, the F-35 has better acceleration and turning ability to the F-16 or FA-18 that it replaces.

      It does not have the kinetic performance of a SU-35 (which is a very nice fighter), yet the F-35 can destroy the SU-35 over a hundred miles further than the SU-35 can even see it.

      I just see more cannon fodder.

      • Valvatorez

        Not really its range is inferior, ISRT and ASEA is inferior to fourth gen Fighters with pods mounted on them. The F-35 is limited to 4 gs so no its performance is inferior to both the F-16 and F-18s. Also limited to under mach 1.5. t. It’s flight ceiling is also lower then many 4.5 generation fighters.
        You sound like those fanboys with no facts from F-16.ne

        “EOTS is an IR sensor. It is primarily intended for ground attack, as a replacement for various IR targeting pods. As a result, it is a single-channel midwave IR system, limiting its detection performance against nonafterburning targets and in air-to-air role but providing all-weather performance.
        It is also obsolete when compared to modern IR pods used by US Navy (in particular, newest versions of Sniper and Lightening pods), being more than a decade old as of 2015. In fact, it is basically an internal version of Sniper XR pod which entered service in 2006, and has low resolution and detection range when compared to the Legion pod.”

        • NathanS

          The SU-35 just has a soda-straw IRST as an external pod (which increases it’s signature even more and hampers performance) like most 4th generation aircraft. It’s only useful if you know where the F-35 is to begin with. There is a hardware refresh in the works that includes sensors for the F-35, even though what it has now is more advanced than a SU-35 today.

          The F-35A (which make up the lions share of the force can turn 9g’s). And it’s ceiling is as high as an F-16, if not higher.

          • bart ninja

            sure it can turn 9g’s… once

          • ”When we did the first dogfight in January, they said, ‘you have no limits,’” says Nelson. “It was loads monitoring, so they could tell if we ever broke something. It was a confidence builder for the rest of the fleet because there is no real difference structurally between AF-2 and the rest of the airplanes.” AF-2 was the first F-35 to be flown to 9g+ and -3g, and to roll at design-load factor. The aircraft, which was also the first Joint Strike Fighter to be intentionally flown in significant airframe buffet at all angles of attack, was calibrated for inflight loads measurements prior to ferrying to Edwards in 2010.

            The operational maneuver tests were conducted to see “how it would look like against an F-16 in the airspace,” says Col. Rod “Trash” Cregier, F-35 program director. “It was an early look at any control laws that may need to be tweaked to enable it to fly better in future. You can definitely tweak it—that’s the option.”

            “Pilots really like maneuverability, and the fact that the aircraft recovers so well from a departure allows us to say [to the designers of the flight control system laws], ‘you don’t have to clamp down so tight,’” says Nelson. Departure resistance was proven during high angle-of-attack (AOA) testing, which began in late 2012 with the aircraft pushing the nose to its production AOA limit of 50 deg. Subsequent AOA testing has pushed the aircraft beyond both the positive and negative maximum command limits, including intentionally putting the aircraft out of control in several configurations ranging from “clean” wings to tests with open weapons-bay doors. Testing eventually pushed the F-35 to a maximum of 110 deg. AOA.”
            http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35-flies-agains

        • blight_

          Indeed, it’s a sign of how prolonged development can result in state of the art systems being left behind in the dust. It a sign of why “modular works”. Remove old target pod, install new target pod. Things that are tightly integrated are also a pain in the neck to remove: which is why open standards and modularity were pushed with LCS.

          Fun how we go modular in one direction and tightly integrated in the other.

      • citanon

        The F-35 has huge stealth and sensor fusion advantages versus the SU-35, but without the F-22’s kinematic advantages, it probably needs better missiles to take full advantage. I think that will be the next step in the F-35 story. Even better kinematics and improved guidance over the AMRAAM-D.

        Also, it seems to me that with the right missile (eg, the Lockheed SACM concept), a _group_ of _networked_ F-35s will be the most lethal combatants around in the BVR-WVR transition.

  • citanon

    I love how the article call it a “fact sheet” when its in fact packed full of the purest fiction. It’s as if they hired Baghdad Bob to write their sales materials.

    • blight_

      They need to convince generalissimos to buy it.

  • Adman

    Although the author of the “fact sheet”, maybe be full of “sheet”, it still makes me with the F-22 line was still rolling strong.

  • Benjamin

    I think the better question is how will it do against an F-15 or F-16? There still are large quantities of those aircraft in service. Most of which have not been upgraded enough to be on par with the Su-35. I imagine that we could rather easily develop improved versions of the engines and radars on those aircraft rather cheaply that would make a big difference if a pilot is in a life or death struggle.

  • miles

    So I guess China’s Vaunted 5th Gen fighters are inferior to the second and third 5th gen fighters, (F-35/PAK-FA) and so they have to pay the Russians to slap together a 4th+++ gen fighter to compete.

    • citanon

      They bought 24 to see how the latest Russian hardware stack up, to learn from those aircraft, and to have a nice bridging force as they build up their 5th gen.

      It’s like what the Navy is doing with buying more Super Hornets and Growlers.

      It’s hard to read from that what the status of their 5th gen program is. In all likelihood they are facing a much steeper learning curve than we had on the F35, but that doesn’t mean it’s failing. Given how much money they have and their industrial base, we should expect them to eventually succeed.

  • miles

    I meant 4+++ gen fighter.

  • Laker8

    The Russians were smart to only sell them 24. You know they are just going to take them apart and build their only like they did when Russia sold them Su-27’s.

    • ronaldo

      No worries Laker 8, the Russians wanted to sell them more than 24 planes. And of course they know that the China is going to build their own version of the ’35. Do you think they have something else in mind ?

      They have a better grasp of the situation than you do and their strategy is certainly different.

  • Curt

    But wait, isn’t the J-20 better than anything available, even a F-22 or F-35? And it will be available yesterday and be FREE! Why would they need these?

    • ronaldo

      Do you know something about the relative capability of the J-20 that the rest of us don’t ? It seems to me that the Chinese are doing something really intelligent by not putting all of their eggs in the basket of developmental designs.

      They have the luxury of choices. (Sort of like we had in WW2 fighters, no ?) that comes with a big budget.

      • Curt

        If the claims about the J20 were true, China would have no need to buy 24 SU-35s that will be a logistics nightmare. This clearly smacks as a way to get the latest Russian gear to copy, not a means of diversification. The J-11 is a copy of the SU-27 just as the J-15 is a copy of the SU-33. Why not update those designs if you want diversification, that’s all a SU-35 is after all. I think the Chinese know what they have with the J-20 and it appears they are less than impressed.

        • Dfens

          It amazes me how so many people can know so much about what the f’ing communist Chinese are doing and why, and at the same time they don’t have the faintest idea what is happening in their own backyard.

  • Lance

    The T-50 got its avionics from the SU-35. The Su-35 is a SU-27 with upgraded weapons systems and avionics. Over I do not make it as far superior to the F-15 or the F-22 but more on par with one.The same goes the on upgraded weapons and avionics on the MiG-29 which became the MiG-35.

    I do think brass needs to get there head out of the Iraq war mind set we need heavy air superiority fighters updated F-15s and more and a lot more F-22s. The JSF is Obama’s boondoggle and is far inferior to any predecessor or current contender but due to politics its being forced on the Air Force.

    That’s a SU-27 on the picture not a SU-35 a SU-35 has canards in front of the wings. More fear mongering by the author, yes. But does it show we need real attention to our heavy fighters more upgrades and production…. YES!

    • Ben

      You should your facts before speaking: the Su-35s (as the one pictured above) has no canards!

    • Stratege

      >The T-50 got its avionics from the SU-35.

      No, it’s not. PAK-FA program has its own “all new” avionics, radar and weapon systems(etc.), generally separated from the Su-35S program.
      As an visualization, looks at the c()ckpits of both aircrafts. It is obvious that there is no close similarity.

      >That’s a SU-27 on the picture not a SU-35 a SU-35 has canards in front of the wings. More fear mongering by the author, yes.

      The old one “Su-35” (the prototype from 90s which had canards) HAS NOTHING to do with the relatively new Su-35S – first-priority multi-role aircraft for RuAF. The Su-35S still got the new airframe – appreciably modified when it compared with the Su-27.

      The picture is right. Sorry, but you have no clue what you talking about.

    • Brian B. Mulholland

      “Obama’s boondoggle?” The program long predates Obama. I believe the decision to stuff V/STOVL into an F-16 / F-18 replacement predates the last President Bush as well, and might go back to the early days of the Clinton presidency OR EARLIER.

      The F-35 may or not be a success, nothing but a few wars will tell, but it’s not Obama’s boondoggle any more than Operation Iraqi Freedom was his decision.

    • Robert Little

      Goodness, so much to dispute; The F-35 is easily the most complex fighter/attack plane ever designed. however it has not been fully tested against the aging American teen series planes, so we won’t know for some time yet. As to “Obama’s boondoggle’, sheesh on steroids. It predates President Obama, as did the Great Recession, unfunded mandates, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, deregulation, tax reduction on the wealthy, and so on. The F-35, assuming it operates according to spec, is essentially a digital age fighter. Even the F-22 is analog by comparison. It is revolutionizing fighter aircraft technology, no matter its eventual success or failure.

  • Bill G

    Gentlemen, it would be a great day for all of us who live on this planet if we could agree to call all this macho competition a draw and use the money and engineering talent to build better schools and hospitals. We all have part of the power to make it happen. Bill.

    • Big Daddy

      A great idea that never will happen as long as man is greedy, self-centered and power hungry. Corrupt of any morality and empathy toward their fellow man, these sub-humans seek power, the world is run by them, always have been and always will be. Until man himself takes an evolutionary step away from the animal instincts we still possess this will be the issues we face with our so-called leaders. Until that happens the USA must be one step ahead of everyone with regard to the military. We are the arsenal of democracy.

      • bart ninja

        the USA bringing democracy even if it kills you. Drop the USA bringing “freedom” BS and see it for the hegemony it really is.

    • blight_asdf

      We’re already making considerable progress reducing the number of nukes in our arsenal, as are the Russians.

      Are they spending it on schools and hospitals? Are we? Hah.

      • Dfens

        Russia used to be able to make weapons for cheap back before they had to spend so much to keep the defense oligarchs fantastically wealthy. I guess we’re in the same boat there too.

    • Citanon

      Take all that money and dump it into schools and hospitals and well just end up with even more over paid doctors teachers and administrators in even more powerful unions. Mean while we miss out on the enormous economic payback on defense investment.

      Think about all the industries and technologies that we use today that was first funded by, deceloped for or supported by an early investment from the DOD. Our defense spending is literally one of the most productive economic stimulus activities in the history of man.

      Better yet there are only two countries in the world today that can take advantage of it at scale: the United states and China. Russia is trying desperately to rejoin the other two but will fail. Look for china to continue dramatic increases in defense spending in the coming years, and reaping the benefits.

    • 10th

      Do you have any idea how much money hospitals make from over charging people? I do, it’s insane…

  • BlackOwl18E

    The Su-35 is probably better than all other 4 gen plus aircraft in terms of raw air-to-air combat performance. Again, there are classified capabilities to nearly all tactical strike aircraft now adays, but from what’s available the Su-35 looks like a beast. Russia just doesn’t have the funds to make enough of them to be a threat beyond their own borders so they’ve turned to foreign sales to lower the price. This is typical of them and it’s a risky, but sound move.

    I remember reading somewhere that the Russians think the F-35 is a joke. If China would rather buy the Su-35 to counter the F-35 than focus on developing the J-20, that says a lot about the avionics in the J-20. They must not be even close to competitive with Russian or American counterparts.

    • NathanS

      I think the Russians are a behind in avionics, but agree the SU-35 would be right up there in terms of kinetic performance.

      Certainly the Russian fan-boys like to make out that the F-35 is a joke, but I don’t think that extends to their defense establishment:
      http://tinyurl.com/nnhsu5x

    • Robert Little

      About two years ago a high-ranking US delegation met with Chinese. At a reception, one American found himself talking to a very high Chinese official, who voiced the wish that the US would sell the F-35 to China. Surprised, the American asked how many? The Chinese replied, no smile, “Just one.”

      • BlackOwl18E

        You know what the biggest joke about the F-35 is right now? China already has a good portion on the specs for the F-35. They hacked servers and were able to make their won version in the J-31. Despite that edge, the Chinese have decided to not buy the J-31 for their own armed forces and will only use it for export. Not only will they not even use it themselves, but they’re still seeking to buy the Russian Su-35 in a region that may have their forces going against the F-35, which says a lot about the level of technology in the Su-35.

        • Capt Obv

          Exactly how much data do you think was “hacked”? Do you realize how many different components make up the F-35? They may have gained certain specs and technology from espionage but I don’t believe the whole program was fully compromised.

        • NathanS

          Actually, according to the Snowden leaks, the J-20 program was a major beneficiary from the “hacked” F-35 program, along with the dual-engine ground-attack J-31.

          The J-31 air-frame was praised by Vladimir Barkovsky from the Mig Corp, but the Chinese have stated it’s currently too heavy (possibly due to the two Mig RD-93 type engines having a far worse weight to thrust than a single engine like the F-135). As of February 2015 they were waiting on the arrival of more powerful domestically produced engines (the Guizhou WS-13A) before it will be manufactured for domestic use.

          It still appears to be missing some key 5th generation features found on the F-35 and F-22, but it’s looking like it’ll still be an upgrade to many current 4th generation aircraft.

  • Gen King

    People in the Russian aviation industry claimed many times in the past 6 or 7 years that the Russian government had allowed them to sell Su-35 to China. How many times the Russian side made similar unilateral announcement that a Su-35 sale had been approved for China, maybe at least 5 times in the past 6-7 years? Whether the Chinese side will buy is an entirely different story. I will believe it when the Chinese side confirms it. Remember, as time goes by, the probability of an actual sale of Su-35 to China decreases.

  • RunnningBear

    AIM-120D Speed: Mach 4+/ Range: > 95 miles/ Turning: 12+ Gs

    You can run, but you can’t hide! :)

  • William Cobb

    To the poster who thinks that’s an Su-27, it is but only by degree. The current version of the Su-35 is a remake of the Su-27, referred to in some sources as the Su-27BM for Bolshoi Modernizatsiya, or Big Modernization. The original Su-35 of the 90s did have canards and flat topped vertical stabilizers, the current one looks more like an Su-27 without a radome pitot tube and ventral speedbrake. . It can supposedly supercruise and its maneuverability at airshow weight has to be seen to be believed. It also has thrust vectoring nozzles and current avionics. All in all it is a great solution to the Russian dilemma they are facing with the T-50, should they update current equipment, or go for the latest tech. The Su-35 allows them to do both to a degree, by being the interim solution until the T-50s problems are sorted out.

    • Robert Little

      China’s main problem lies with engines – theirs are crap. They buy them from Russia, which country stole the original design from the British. Russian engines are good, but recent advances in the west have superseded them. The F-35 makes 35k pounds of thrust and doesn’t smoke (F-4). The Foxbat was incredibly fast, still is, but its engines reportedly have to be replaced after one high speed run.

  • David

    China must need more craft to reverse engineer.

    • Joel

      I agree with you David, the Chicom need the buy to reverse engineer the engine for its 5gen fighters under dev.

  • Thankyou for the information

  • LionKing

    T14 Armata Russia tank is best tank in the world!

  • The great Jessmo

    F-35 Unscathed by Hostile Fire in Green Flag
    18 Jun 2015 Amy Butler | Aviation Week & Space Technology

    “Not a single F-35 was “shot down” during the joint-force Green Flag exercises testing the jet and its pilots’ prowess operating it in a contested air-support role in the Western U.S. this month, according to U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Cameron Dadgar, head of the exercise and leader of the 549th Combat Training Sqdn. at Nellis AFB, Nevada. This is notable because A-10s and F-16s were defeated in the same conditions, operating in an environment with hostile aircraft and …”

    Source: http://aviationweek.com/defense/f-35-un … green-flag

    You people are ignorant. F-35 and supporters win, you lose, what you say doesn’t matter any more

    • NathanS

      Here’s some other interesting stuff to come out of Green Flag:

      The F-35 has participated in Green Flag exercises—conducted twice a year—since 2013; however, this was the first time it was featured prominently. “In comparison with the other airframes, they provided the most sorties over the most days,” says Master Sgt. Sanjay Allen, a Nellis spokesman. Two operational test F-35As participated in the fight from Edwards AFB, California. They flew more than 10 days, with sorties taking place in some cases multiple times a day.

      Typical weapon loadout for these missions included a single 2,000-lb. GBU-31 and two 500-lb. GBU 12s, which are laser-guided Paveways, Allen says.

      He bristles at the idea that the media invitation to Green Flag was an F-35 PR stunt. “We’ve had media days at this Green Flag before,” he says. “Just because the F-35 is here doesn’t mean this is a PR stunt.”’

      Laird says the F-35 pilots were able to communicate directly with ground-based air controllers calling in fires for CAS. While doing so, the F-35s provided their own counter air, or capability to evade hostile fires.

      He acknowledges that one challenge is for the F-35 to communicate with legacy aircraft—F-15Es, F-16s and A-10s—when operating covertly. The F-35’s Link 16 is effective in transmitting data, but it broadcasts the jet’s location, nullifying its stealthiness. By contrast, F-35s can pass data to other F-35s via the Multifunction Advanced Data Link, which is not accessible to legacy aircraft. “What we are trying to figure out now is integrating the F-35 with fourth-gen assets,” Laird says. Passing threat data from the F-35 to these fighters will make them more survivable in the fight, he adds.

    • Charles

      What you say doesn’t matter either – by the time the F-35 is ready, they might be flying ’em straight to the bone-yard where it will still be victorious: it’ll likely be the first fighter in aviation history to sink an entire NATION without firing a shot!

      Victory: LockMart! China! Russia!
      Losers: US Taxpayers

      • bart ninja

        victorious… LOL… best post so far

      • NathanS

        How so?

        Testing is complete; the first operational squadron of F-35B’s is beginning operations with the Marines next week. It can be called upon if and when needed.

  • The great Jessmo

    To Make matters worse:

    1. I’m going to mock you every chance I get.
    2. When the plane hits FRP and the skies are darkened with the shadows of F-35s
    All the detractors will be laughed out of our small blogesphere of a community.
    3. We get to mock you we win

  • jonbad2

    It seems there are always people on this board that ALWAYS believe the word coming from the Chinese and Russian military/governments. Do you not know how they inflate their abilities and resources?

    Not that I absolutely trust my own military/government.

  • Godzilla

    This Su-35 deal has been talked about for years now. It’s never went anywhere.

    Supposedly the main interest the Chinese have in this plane is because they want to get their hands on the propulsion technology. From what I heard they wanted to buy only a couple of these planes are TONS of “spare” engines arguably to use on their J-20. The Russians actually want them to place a substantial order before selling them the plane which they know the Chinese will try to eventually reverse engineer in order to get the most cash out of the Chinese while they can.

    The Su-35 uses the same Al-41F engines the Russians use on their T-50 prototype. These are high thrust-to-weight engines which can do supercruise and that have 2D TVC. As for the avionics the Chinese supposedly can get better avionics than the Russians on basically every single item including the radar. Allegedly the Chinese have AESA GaN radar prototypes with a lot more T/R modules than the ones on the Russian T-50 radar prototypes. They have had access to Israeli radar technology in the past so I would not discount the possibility of these rumors actually being true.

  • Leo Johnson

    well at least in today’s picture someone put the engine covers back on.

  • Jim

    The Chinese are buying primarily for the engines b/c the Russians won’t sell only the engines. So to get the engines the Chinese have to purchase the entire plane. So far they have not been able to reverse engineer the metallurgy required for the high internal temps needed to produce high performance engines.

  • FWGuy

    I am surprised Russia would allow China to steal its technology on such a cheap / low price sell of only 24 jets. Putin and the Russia Military must be in desperate need of foreign cash considering the very low oil prices currently.

    • bart ninja

      with ww3 on the horizon it is more important for Russia to have a strong ally in China than the economics of technology transfer.

  • letslobrob

    you got to be kidding….