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.
CAMBODIAN CON: The two men filmed videos with made-up content with a focus on purported human trafficking, beatings and sexual assaults by scammers Cambodian authorities yesterday sentenced two Taiwanese to two years in prison and a NT$30,000 fine each for staging a kidnapping in the southern coastal city of Sihanoukville which they live streamed online. Chen Neng-chuan (陳能釧), 31, and Lu Tsu-hsien (魯祖顯), 34, were convicted of inciting and causing social disorder a day after Cambodian police officials convened a news conference about their arrest. Chen, who goes by the online name “Goodnight Chicken” (晚安小雞), and Lu, known by the handle “Anow” (阿鬧), must each pay 4 million riels (US$982), according to a court filing. The court said the duo arrived in the Cambodian capital, Phnom
TAKE PRECAUTIONS: Never hike alone and prepare food, water and appropriate equipment for Taiwan’s mountains, particularly in the winter, officials said Two mountain hikers were rescued yesterday, a day after a body was airlifted out of Yushan National Park, one of several deaths related to mountaineering or hiking in the past two weeks, the Ministry of the Interior said yesterday. A Nantou County mountain rescue team called for a helicopter while responding to a call yesterday morning. They said a woman surnamed Chen (陳), 31, and a man surnamed Lin (林), 32, got lost in the mountains around the Batongguan Historic Trail (八通關古道), while traveling west toward Dongpu Township (東埔). They were directed to a nearby alpine meadow, where the helicopter landed with four
Individual tourists who arrive in Taiwan from tomorrow are eligible to receive limited-edition lucky bags to mark the Lantern Festival, Tourism Administration officials said yesterday. The Lantern Festival-themed lucky bags each contain a Year of the Dragon red envelope, a mini lantern, a NT$300 coupon for an amusement park ticket and a NT$500 Taiwan PASS coupon, the officials said. To get a lucky bag, visitors must present a passport or residence certificate and proof of their date of entry at a tourism center at either terminal at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) or Kaohsiung International Airport, they said. The
‘CORRECT CALL’: The navy said the captain was right to send crew out to fix an issue with a buoy, and that the buckles connecting two of them to the safety line came loose Equipment and environmental reasons, not human error, were to blame for the loss of three submariners on Dec. 21 last year, the navy said yesterday. The navy would not punish any of the Hai Hu’s (海虎) crew after an investigation determined that the captain was correct in sending crew to retrieve a safety buoy, it said in a news release. Three crew members — a master chief petty officer surnamed Lin (林) and two petty officers surnamed Yen (顏) and Chang (張) — are still unaccounted for after being swept from the submarine’s deck by a wave while trying to retrieve the