Originally posted by antimatter at 2010-12-8 13:22
But most likely Russians will not individual 117S engines to China. Instead it will force China to buy SU-35 as a whole for 40 planes.
If China wants thrust vectoring engine, then it needs to ...
Russia’s military bonanza is over
A year after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a cash-strapped Kremlin began ing China a chunk of its vast military arsenal, including the pride of the Russian air force, the Sukhoi-27 fighter jet. For the next 15 years, Russia was China’s biggest arms supplier, providing $20 billion to $30 billion of fighters, destroyers, submarines, tanks and missiles. It even sold Beijing a license to make the Su-27 fighter jet—with imported Russian parts. Today, Russia’s military bonanza is over, and China’s is just beginning.
After decades, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier. Not only have Chinese engineers cloned the prized Su-27’s avionics and radar but they are fitting it with the last piece in the technological puzzle, a Chinese jet engine. In the past two years, Beijing hasn’t placed a major order from Moscow.
Now, China is starting to export much of this weaponry, undercutting Russia in the developing world, and potentially altering the military balance in several of the world’s flash points. This epochal turnaround was palpable in the Russian pavilion at November’s Airshow China in the southern city of Zhuhai. Russia used to be the star of this show, wowing visitors with its “Russian Knights” aerobatic team, showing off fighters, helicopters and cargo planes, and sealing multibillion dollar deals on the sidelines. This year, it didn’t bring a single real aircraft—only a handful of plastic miniatures, tended by a few dozen bored sales staff.
China, by contrast, laid on its biggest commercial display of military technology—almost all based on Russian know-how. The star guests were the “Sherdils,” a Pakistani aerobatics team flying fighter jets that are Russian in origin but are now being produced by Pakistan and China. “We used to be the senior partner in this relationship—now we’re the junior one,” said Ruslan Pukhov, of the Russian Defence Ministry’s Public Advisory Council, a civilian advisory body to the military.
China’s military muscle still lags far behind that of the US, by far the world’s largest weapons manufacturer and exporter. China accounted for 2% of global arms transfers between 2005-2009, putting it in ninth place among exporters, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). But no other Asian country has sought to project military power—and had the indigenous capability to do so—since Japan’s defeat in 1945. China’s rapid mastery of Russian technology raises questions about US co-operation with the civilian faces of Chinese arms makers.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin was desperate for hard currency. In 1992, China became the first country outside the former Soviet Union to buy the Su-27, paying $1 billion for 24. Three years later, China unveiled its own version of the fighter jet—the J-11B—on state television. “When the license was sold, everyone knew they would do this. It was just a risk that was taken,” said Vassily Kashin, a Russian expert on the Chinese military. “At that time it was a question of survival.” The J-11B looked almost identical to the Su-27, but China said it was 90% indigenous and included more advanced Chinese avionics and radars. Only the engine was still Russian, China said.
The J-11B presented Russia with a stark choice—to continue ing China weapons, and risk having them cloned, too, or to stop, and miss out on its still lucrative market. Russia’s initial response was to suspend talks on ing China the Su-33, a fighter with folding wings that can be used on aircraft carriers. Since then, however, it has re-opened negotiations on the Su-33, although it rejected China’s offer to buy just two, and insisted on a larger order.
In private, however, Russian officials say they worry that China is about to start mass producing and exporting advanced fighters—without Russian help. China bought $16 billion worth of Russian arms between 2001 and 2008—40% of Russia’s sales. Photographs published recently on Chinese military websites appear to show engines fitted on the J-11B and a modified version—called the J-15—for use on aircraft carriers.
At last year’s Dubai Air Show, China demonstrated its L-15 trainer jet for the first time. In June, China made its debut at the Eurosatory arms fair in France. In July, China demonstrated the JF-17—the fighter developed with Pakistan—for the first time overseas at the Farnborough Airshow in Britain. China also had one of the biggest pavilions at an arms fair in Capetown in September.
“They’re showing up at arms fairs they’ve never been to before,” said Siemon T. Wezeman, an arms trade expert at SIPRI. “Whereas 15 years ago they had nothing really, now they’re offering reasonable technology at a reasonable price.” China is generating particular interest among developing countries, especially with the relatively cheap JF-17 fighter with a Russian engine. The Kremlin has approved the re-export of the engine to Pakistan, as it has no arms business there. But it was enraged last year when Azerbaijan, an ex-Soviet republic, began talks on buying JF-17s, according to people familiar with the situation. Also last year, China’s JF-17s and Russia’s MiG-29s competed in a tender from Myanmar, which eventually chose the Russians, but paid less than they wanted.
This year, both entered a tender from Egypt, with China offering the JF-17 for $10 million less than Russia’s $30 million MiG-29. That prompted Mikhail Pogosyan, who heads Sukhoi and the company that makes MiGs, to suggest that the Kremlin stop ing China the Russian engines for the JF-17. The Kremlin hasn’t done that yet, but Russian officials have suggested privately taking legal action if China exports more advanced jets like the J-11B. Other potential buyers of China’s JF-17 fighter jet include Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Nigeria, Morocco and Turkey. In the past, China has also sold fighters to Sudan. — The Wall Street Journal