“We are expecting a response from China on our offer to purchase modern weapons and military equipment manufactured in Russia, including additional batches of Su-35 fighter jets,” Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) told reporters at the Army-2019 forum in Kubinka on Thursday.
The first batch of 24 Su-35 aircraft (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) finished being delivered in April at the cost of $2.5 billion, according to The Diplomat, with the first jets having arrived as early as December 2016. The advanced aircraft could be considered a 4.5 generation jet, a substantial upgrade on Sukhoi’s Su-27 (NATO reporting name Flanker) intended to plug the gap until the introduction of the Su-57, which has only recently entered service with the Russian Air Force.
The jet sports an advanced passive-electronically scanned radar array and a powerful computer suite that can track up to 30 targets at once. It’s rumored to be able to engage up to eight targets simultaneously. The Su-35S also has thrust vectoring engines similar to those on the US Air Force’s F-22 Raptors, giving it incredible maneuverability in the air.
Russian military expert Dmitry Drozdenko also told Sputnik in August 2018 the Su-35 “can see the F-35 alright,” which is among the United States’ most advanced stealth fighters.
The planes are built at Sukhoi's Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant in the Russian Far East, not far from the Chinese border.
Beijing also manufactures the Su-27 under license, which it designates the J-11, and has the J-15, which is believed to be derived from another Su-27 derivative, the T-10K-3 naval test aircraft, which China acquired via Ukraine, Sputnik reported.
The Su-35 only entered service in 2014, and China is the only foreign buyer of the plane so far. However, Indonesia has signaled a willingness to push forward with a $1.154 billion purchase of 11 Su-35s, despite threatened US sanctions under Washington’s Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which is intended to deter countries from supplying themselves with Russian military hardware capable of matching US equipment on the battlefield.
Upon delivering the first Su-35 batch in April, Viktor Kladov, Rostec director of international cooperation and regional policy, noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin might soon sign off on exporting the Su-57, a true fifth-generation stealth aircraft, to China. Citing experts, Sputnik noted at the time that while China might buy a couple Su-57s to learn from the Russian design, China’s own fifth generation jets, the J-20 and J-31, have entered or could soon enter service.