|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jan 06, 2017 10:12 AM EST|
(Photo : KnAAPO) Sukhoi Su-35S.
Russia kept its word by delivering the first four Sukhoi Su-35S supermaneuverable air superiority fighters to China in December. The delivery was confirmed by the People's Liberation Army (PLA).
The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is the first foreign customer for the Su-35S --and also the last. After receiving delivery of the four Sukhois, the PLAAF said it will order no more Russian-made fighters and other combat aircraft after Russia delivers the remaining 20 Su-35Ss it bought.
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The PLAAF said the advent of its own Chengdu J-20 'stealth' fighter makes is unnecessary to acquire any more Russian-made warplanes. It said Russia agreed with its opinion the Su-35S "will lose its value on the Chinese market in the near future" because of the much superior J-20.
The Su-35S, however, will help the PLAAF mitigate its qualitative and quantitative inferiority in air-to-air combat against the Americans, who have larger numbers of more capable fourth generation ++ jets and two stealth or fifth generation fighters.
The arrival of the Su-35Ss will also facilitate China's efforts to upgrade its other Sukhoi-made jets: the obsolete Su-27 air superiority fighter and the Su-30 multirole fighter.
The Su-35, a fourth generation ++ jet, is Russia's most advanced operational fighter. It's billed by the Kremlin as a match for the U.S. Northrop Grumman F-35 stealth fighter, which it clearly is not.
The PLA, of which the PLAAF is one of four armed services, said it takes pride in that it also no longer needs Russian-made surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and heavy military transport aircraft because it now has indigenous equivalents: HQ-9B SAM and the Xian Y-20 strategic transport aircraft.
"Therefore, we hope very much that Su-35 will be the last (combat) aircraft China imports," said the PLA.
The PLAAF said its Su-35Ss have thrust vectoring engines that can point in different directions for increased maneuverability. The Su-35S has a maximum speed of 2,500 km/h and can fly 3,400 km without refueling. The fighter can carry 12 missiles or bombs, as well as a 30 mm GSh-301 autocannon.
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