Air Platforms

Russia completes deliveries of SU-35 fighter aircraft to China

16 April 2019

A PLAAF Su-35 fighter in 2018 taking part in what China described as a “joint combat patrol” over the South China Sea. Moscow said on 16 April that it had completed the delivery of 24 Su-35s to China. Source: Chinese MND

Russia has completed the delivery of 24 Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker-E' multirole fighter aircraft to China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), an official from Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) told Jane's on 16 March.

"The delivery of those platforms to the PRC has been completed," said the official, without revealing when exactly the final batch of aircraft was delivered.

Russian defence conglomerate Rostec had previously been quoted as saying that China had received the first 4 Su-35 platforms in 2016 and a further 10 in 2017 as part of a contract for 24 aircraft estimated to be worth about USD2.5 billion.

In November 2015, Rostec announced that Beijing had signed the contract to purchase the Su-35s, making China the first foreign customer of the Russian-built aircraft, which is claimed to be an upgraded and highly manoeuvrable '4++ generation' fighter with characteristics and performance close to those of upcoming 'fifth-generation combat aircraft'.

The Russian-Sino agreement reportedly includes not only the sale of the aircraft but also the delivery of, among other things, ground support equipment and spare engines, with a military-diplomatic source telling Jane's on 16 April that the contract is expected to be fully implemented by 2020.

"Some additional subsystems, including ground-support hardware, have yet to be delivered. The customer will have received all the pieces of equipment by the end of the next year," said the source.

A PLAAF source told Jane's that the service would receive a large armament suite for the aircraft. "The Su-35 will be complemented by air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, as well as unguided rockets, guided bomb units and unguided bombs. The fighters will carry R-27 (AA-10 'Alamo'), R-73 (AA-11 'Archer'), and RVV-family [air-to-air] missiles and Kh-35E (AS-20 'Kayak') anti-ship missiles," he said.

China's Ministry of National Defense (MND) confirmed in April 2018 that the Su-35 had officially entered service with the PLAAF.

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