Sun, Dec 26, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Russia to sell more fighter jets to China

AP , MOSCOW

Russia plans to sell a host of new military jet fighters and transport planes to China next year, arms export officials said on Friday, and foreign sales of Russian weaponry and equipment could exceed US$5 billion for the year.

Yury Krylov, who heads the air force division of the state agency Rosoboronexport, said that his agency and the Chinese Air Force expect to sign several new contracts for Su-30MK2 multifunctional jet fighters, according to the Interfax news agency.

Pre-contract work on supplying Il-76 Candid military transports and Il-78 Midas aerial tankers were almost finished as well, he said.

"We are planning to conclude a series of new contracts, in particular, for the supplies of SU-30MK2 planes to the Chinese Air Force," Krylov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Defense analysts say Su-30s cost about US$35 million each. India bought several dozen Su-30MK1 jets in the late 1990s for US$28 million each.

China has become the Russian arms industry's No. 1 customer, and is expected to buy weapons worth some US$2 billion this year to modernize its arsenal and back up frequent threats to invade Taiwan.

Krylov also said Russia is also considering continuing to supply parts for Su-27SK Flanker jets to China, where they could be assembled under license.

The Su-27 -- which is a similar twin-engine design to the Su-30 -- has been in service since 1985, and also goes by the NATO code name "Flanker."

Its speed and maneuverability made it one of the key planes in the former Soviet air force, and it resembles the US F-15 Eagle fighter with two rear stabilizers and twin engines.

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