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.
GOOD INFLUENCE: Kwan said his mother tutored him at home for a few years, saying that she had to protect his ‘creativity’ as his writing had suffered Director and coproducer of the Oscar-winning absurdist comedy-drama Everything Everywhere All at Once Daniel Kwan (關家永) on Sunday dedicated the movie to his Taiwanese mother, who he said supported his creativity growing up. “She is someone who sacrificed a lot for her kids,” Kwan, 35, said backstage at the Oscars. The movie, released early last year, received a commanding 11 nominations at the Academy Awards, and won seven, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, with whom he also directed the 2016 fantasy film Swiss Army
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
Three people arrested earlier this year for growing cannabis plants with an estimated street value of nearly NT$20 million (US$652,507) in Chiayi County earlier this year could be sentenced to life in prison for breaching the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例), Taichung police said yesterday. A couple, surnamed Tsai (蔡), and suspect surnamed Hsu (徐) were found cultivating 91 cannabis plants on a farm in the county after law enforcement agents raided the site in the middle of January when they were about to harvest the field, Taichung police told a news conference. Taichung police said they were tipped off last year
HYGIENE KEY: The CDC reported two cases of enterovirus 71, which can cause serious complications, and as there have been no recent outbreaks, children are not immune Two cases of enterovirus 71 (EV71) were reported last week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday, adding that it was a warning sign, as the virus has not been detected for more than a year. Parents are advised to remind their children to practice good hand hygiene, it said. Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉), director of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Center, said that 165,230 people visited a hospital for diarrhea last week, which is a high number. Most of the diarrhea case clusters were caused by norovirus infection, but there were also enterovirus cases, and weekly caseloads are slowly increasing, Guo said. Most of