Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Russia Promises to Deliver First 4 Su-35S Fighter Jets to China in December

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(Photo : KnAAPO) Sukhoi Su-35S.

Russia said China will definitely receive its first four Sukhoi Su-35S supermaneuverable air superiority fighters this December with the remaining 20 to be delivered before 2020.

China is the first foreign customer for the Su-35S, whose fame lies in the incredible supermaneuverability conferred by its twin izdeliye (Product) Saturn 117S (AL-41F1S) thrust vectoring turbofan engines that each produce 142 kN (32,000 lb) of thrust in afterburner and gives it a maximum speed at altitude of Mach 2.25 (2,390 km/h).

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Russia will honor its pledge to supply the first Su-35S fighters to China this year under a military-technical deal between the two countries signed in November 2015, said Vyacheslav Shport, Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory where the fighter will be produced.

The Su-35 (an upgraded version of the Su-27) is only made at Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), part of the Sukhoi Aviation Holding Company. The largest aircraft manufacturing company in Russia, KnAAPO is located at Komsomolsk-on-Amur, a city in Khabarovsk Territory.

"I can say that today, all issues of supplying aircraft equipment as part of military-technical cooperation are proceeding strictly on schedule at the aviation enterprise located on the Khabarovsk Territory, and will be complete before the deadline specified in the contract. It's under my supervision," said Shport.

The deal will cost China over $2 billion and also includes the delivery of ground support equipment and reserve aircraft engines.

It's long been known China's main interest isn't the Su-35S itself but the jet's thrust vectoring Saturn 117S engines. Chinese technology in the production of first-class fighter jets lags seriously behind the United States and Russia, and the acquisition of the Su-35S will jump start China's own plans to produce engines of similar performance.

Indicative of this aim is that China won't be buying any more Su-35s after this initial order, said Russian sources. China will focus on its domestic fighter programs, especially engines for its grossly underpowered fifth generation fighters, the Chengdu J-20 and the Shenyang J-31.

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