The Taiwanese air force will perhaps sigh in relief at the news that Russia is refusing to sell China Sukhoi Su-35 multirole aircraft — one of the world’s most advanced fighters — and top-of-the-line S-400 air defense systems over fears that Chinese engineers could eventually copy the technology.
The Russian-language Kommersant business newspaper reported earlier this year that Beijing last year had requested 48 Su-35s, valued at more than US$4 billion, as well as an unspecified number of S-400 systems.
With Taiwan already playing catch-up in the race for control of airspace in the Taiwan Strait, this development will provide relief, as the introduction of the Su-35 would have added to Taipei’s headaches.
Despite the impressive capabilities of the Su-35 — a so-called “four-plus-plus generation” aircraft — US analysts argue that the Lockheed Martin F-35, which Taiwan might now be interested in acquiring, is a superior fighter.
Ariel Cohen, a defense analyst at the Heritage Foundation, claims that the F-35’s superiority stems from the Su-35 being a “modernization” of its “progenitor,” the Su-27, while the F-35 is a new model.
“The Russians have some good specific system technologies, [but] their ability to effectively integrate them often lags behind that of the West,” Cohen said.
Aircraft currently in service in Taiwan’s air force, or the F-16C/D that it has sought since 2006, would not have a similar edge.
For its part, with a range of approximately 400km, the S-400 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system would have posed a serious threat to aircraft taking off from Taiwan, complementing China’s deployment of several 200km-range Russian-made S-300PMU-1 and S-300PMU-2 SAMs around cities and in Fujian Province facing Taiwan. China also deploys the HQ-9, a derivative of the S-300.
According to reports, China had planned to deploy the S-400 around its major cities to protect against incoming aircraft and ballistic targets.
At the heart of Moscow’s reluctance to release the defense articles to China are the aircraft’s engines and advanced passive electronically scanned array (PESA) radar systems, the defense magazine Kanwa reported in its latest issue.
Relations between the two countries were strained recently over allegations that China’s Shenyang J-11B was a replica of the Russian-made Su-27.
China cancelled an order for 95 Su-27s last year after launched serial production of the J-11.
Russia has also often complained about China’s reverse engineering of its systems for production of its own cheaper export versions to compete against the Russian originals.
CLEAR BEFORE LEAVING: Two baby boys and a woman in her 30s tested negative before departing for Japan, but tests taken after their arrival came back postive Three Taiwanese tested positive for COVID-19 when they arrived in Japan earlier this month, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday as it reported a new imported case. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), head of the center, said that one of the three cases in Japan is a Taiwanese baby under the age of one, whose parents work in Japan. The infant came to Taiwan with his parents in January, and the parents paid for the family’s COVID-19 tests on Oct. 10 ahead of their planned return to Japan on Monday last week, he said. The boy and his
‘BACKED BY ENEMY’: CTi News is one of the few channels promoting unification, the New Party chairman said, while pro-Taiwan groups called it a propaganda outlet Pan-blue camp supporters yesterday lodged a protest at the National Communications Commission (NCC) against what they say is a possible move by the government to shut down CTi News, adding that politics should not interfere with freedom of the press. Protesters included representatives from the New Party, the Blue Sky Action Alliance, the 333 Political Party Alliance and other pan-blue groups. “We stand here today because CTi News is one of the few media outlets in Taiwan that is still willing to give groups supporting unification with China a voice. If the news channel is gone, there would only be
NEW YEAR’S EVE: Examples from South Korea and Japan show that 15 local COVID-19 infections could emerge in a short period if measures are not taken The Taipei City Government would cancel its New Year’s Eve Party and all large events if 15 or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 are reported in the city within a week, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday. Addressing the Taipei Cross Border E-Commerce Annual Convention, Ko said the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many uncertainties to society, and that e-commerce is on a path of no return and would continue to grow. Many countries have not effectively controlled their COVID-19 outbreaks, and although Taiwan implements strict border controls and there have been few inbound passengers, the pandemic is unlikely to end soon,
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday accused CTi News of trying to mislead the public by publishing a half-page advert claiming that the party interfered in the National Communications Commission’s (NCC) review of its application for a license renewal. CTi News is distorting the commission’s review process by painting it as a political conflict and turning it into a smear campaign against the DPP, party spokeswoman Yen Juo-fang (顏若芳) said. “The NCC is an independent body, which carries out reviews and makes decisions based on its members’ professional expertise, as well as regulations and legal requirements governing media operations,” Yen said. “We condemn