A Su-35 fighter. (Internet Photo)
China will actually purchase 100 instead of 24 Su-35 advanced fighters from Russia, as put down in the new contract signed during the Paris Air Show 2013, according to the Moscow-based state radio broadcaster the Voice of Russia.
About 49 Russian aviation companies, including Sukhoi, Mikoyan, Ilyushin, Antonov and Rosoboronexport, attended the Paris Air Show held between Jun 17 and 23 at Le Bourget in the French capital. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the air show, a Su-35S fighter flew its first demonstration flight outside Russia. Described as a 4.5 generation fighter, the Su-35S treated the visitors to a display of some impressive aerobatics during the first day of the air show on June 17.
The acrobatics were designed by Sukhoi to attract attention from potential buyers, China certainly among them. A deal was made in Nov 2012 when Russia agreed to provide China 24 Su-35 fighters with the advanced AL-31 engine. "Upcoming supplies of the Su-35 fighters to China are 'an open secret'," said a Russian official on the Voice of Russia.
"A decision to supply the Su-35 fighters to China was made long ago," added the official. "The parties are working hard to coordinate the financial and technical conditions of the future contract, which is due by the year's end. At present, the details of the contract are being specified." With the ability to detect air targets at a distance of over 400km and a combat radius of 1,600km, the Su-35 will dominate the Asia-Pacific sky until Japan and India receive their first fifth generation fighters by 2020, said the broadcaster.