Wendell Minnick
Wendell Minnick

After the massive gas deal between China and Russia, both countries are now working on a deal on Russian fighters and surface-to-air missiles. But it is not yet a done deal, explains defense analyst Wendell Minnick in Defense News.

Wendell Minnick:

Russian industry officials are denying media reports that Beijing and Moscow are finalizing a deal on the sale of advanced Russian fighters and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) to China.

Widely reported by other media outlets, Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV announced that the head of Sukhoi, Mikhail Pogosyan, confirmed that a deal with China to procure Su-35S fighters and S-400 SAMs was close to concluding.

But Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) denies that Pogosyan discussed anything beyond the sale of commercial aircraft during his visit to China.

Maxim Syssoev, manager of UAC’s communications department, wrote in a news release that Pogosyan did not discuss the sale of the Su-35 with Chinese officials. However, UAC and China’s state-run Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China did sign a cooperation agreement to build wide-body long-range commercial airliners on May 20.

This does not mean that a deal on the multirole combat aircraft is dead, only that no agreement has been made, said Vasily Kashin, a researcher at the Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies.

“As I understand, S-400 and Su-35 deals might be sped up because of the growing importance of strategic ties with China for Moscow after the Crimean crisis,” he said. However, “taking into account production cycles, the first S-400s are unlikely to reach China before 2016.”

More in Defense News.

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