Military Review

How China plans to use the Su-35 ("The Diplomat", Japan)

With the purchase of advanced Su-35 fighters, China will receive important new opportunities.

How China plans to use the Su-35 ("The Diplomat", Japan)A senior executive from Rosoboronexport, the Russian state export corporation, said that Russia in 2014 would sign a contract for the delivery of modern Su-35 aircraft to China, thereby confirming that by the end of 2013, the deal could not be finalized. This is hardly the last word on this issue, since negotiations have been dragging on since 2010, and we have heard premature and contradictory statements on this subject before. But this clearly indicates the interest of Russia in such supplies. So far, China’s interest in the fighter of a new generation should be studied because it can tell about the progress of Chinese military technology itself and the strategy for resolving territorial disputes in the South China Sea. If the deal goes through, it can have the most direct impact on these disputes. Strengthening the power of the PRC in a hypothetical conflict, the Su-35 with its range and fuel capacity will allow the Air Force of the People’s Liberation Army of China to conduct long-term patrols in disputed areas, as they did to put pressure on Japan over the dispute over the Senkaku / Diaoyutai islands.

Su-35 - this is not the first machine Sukhoi, causing interest among the Chinese military. As already reported on the pages of The Diplomat, the PRC military strongly praises Su-30MKK and its Chinese version J-16, stating that this machine will allow them to project their power in the South China Sea region.

In June of this year, reports appeared in the Chinese and Russian media indicating that an agreement was reached on the purchase of the Su-35 multi-role fighters, however, no one considered these messages as official, because quite contradictory articles were published in both Chinese and Russian media for a whole year. materials. Once, Russian sources said that the transaction took place, but the Chinese Ministry of Defense categorically denied this statement. However, in January, the two countries created the prerequisites for the supply of these aircraft, having reached an agreement in principle that Russia will sell the Su-35 to China.

There remains a very important question about how many aircraft China will buy. The Chinese newspaper Global Times reported this summer that a group of PRC representatives visited Moscow to assess the Su-35, and that Beijing would start purchasing these advanced vehicles "in significant quantities." Does this mean that China will acquire more 48 aircraft, which the press wrote about a year ago? This is unclear. There is evidence that negotiations are continuing, and this indicates a strong desire of the Chinese military to buy Sukhoi fighters.

Chinese aviation to this day is largely dependent on Russia. The attention of the media is focused on domestic Chinese programs and the development of stealth fighter-bombers and helicopters. Improving the combat potential of Chinese aviation has become a widespread topic, and every month there are new messages about its programs. Production and design capabilities within such aviation projects have received significant development, but if you look “under the hood”, then we often see Russian engines there. China continues to copy and steal Russian propulsion technology, because it really wants to create engines on its own. In fact, the purchase of the Su-35 does not represent a change in the preferences of the Chinese military command. The acquisition of the Su-35 indicates the very delicate situation in which China today has become a major buyer and manufacturer weapons Russian mostly samples. Self-reliance has always been very important to Beijing, but it has been surpassed by the strategic need for the rapid acquisition of the most advanced weapons systems. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 1991, China began to buy Su-27 long-range fighter jets (this is an older sister model of Su-35).

For obvious reasons, Russia was unhappy when its main export product was launched in China under the name J-11 without a license agreement. Russian media previously reported that Moscow decided not to sell this car, fearing that China would copy it and start exporting itself, weakening the position of the very important economic sector for Russia. It seems that now Russia is trying to find a balance between its fear of Chinese copying and its desire (or need) to sell weapons.

The Su-35 procurement analysis from the point of view of Chinese strategic needs and through the prism of events such as recent territorial disputes and squabbles with neighbors gives a clear understanding of why China is seeking to buy Su aircraft.

Simply put, the Su-35 is today the best fighter in the world without stealth characteristics. In the West, stealth has become a leading feature of aircraft design, but other factors are more important for Chinese needs. What is even more unexpected - an indicator such as superiority in aerial combat is not a key commercial advantage of the Su-35. This machine provides Chinese military advantages over the F-15 and other aircraft in service with neighboring Japan. However, this modern Russian machine does not give China any new, special opportunities in conflict zones, say, in the skies over the Taiwan Strait. There or near Japan - near the Senkaku / Diaoyutai Islands - you can actively use interceptors and multi-purpose fighters such as J-10. No, the advantage of the Su-35 - rather in its speed and capacity of fuel tanks. Like the Su-27, the Su-35 was created to patrol the vast airspace of Russia and to counter threats arising far from densely populated urban centers. The PLA Air Force faces similar challenges.

One of these problems is the South China Sea. Its vast waters of a million square kilometers in 2,25, the Chinese claims, which are reflected in the famous “nine-dotted line”, present serious difficulties for the PLA fighters. Currently, ground-based Chinese naval fighter aircraft may perform limited patrols in the southern regions of this sea, but their fuel supply seriously limits the time for such patrols. In order to ensure the fulfillment of its requirements and claims from the land during the moments of crisis, China needs airplanes with such speed and radius of action that Su-35 has. Perhaps this machine is precisely designed to ensure the territorial claims of the PRC: to restrain the remaining applicants, as well as to create an additional echelon of defense in the event of an escalation of tension. And here is the most important fuel.

One important advantage of the Su-35 over the Su-27 / J-11B is that it can fly with outboard fuel tanks. The lack of such tanks at the Su-27 seriously limits its capabilities, since it cannot carry out refueling in the air. And Su-35 can, and this is another important factor for the Chinese strategy to increase the time spent in the combat mission area and flight range. This time is considered separately from the time of approaching the target and the time of returning to the airfield. In general, there are three ways to increase this wait time. Small and less high-speed aircraft, such as the American Predator and other drones, can continuously be in the air for hours, because they have longer wings and less weight due to the absence of the pilot. Two more ways are to increase the capacity of the fuel tanks and refuel. China began to implement an air refueling program, but it has not yet fully proved itself and is currently not designed for naval aviation. Chinese Aerospace Power: Evolving Maritime Roles predicts that this program will take effect from 2015 to 2020.

Su-35, even with internal tanks only, has significant advantages compared to Su-27, which can carry out only quick overflights of hot spots, such as Reed Beach and Scarborough Reef. The extra time that this machine can spend in the air is very important, as China intends to resist the actions of the Philippines and other regional players. A machine with such a long range will be able to carry out a “flag demonstration” for much longer, and will also quickly intercept Philippine aircraft in these areas. Su-35 surpasses all Philippine and Vietnamese airplanes (and surface ships, for that matter), which makes their territorial claims inappropriate.

It is this “fait accompli” situation that the PRC seeks to create, displacing Filipinos from Scarborough’s reef and flying over disputed areas in the East China Sea. Beijing wants to create an overwhelming Chinese presence in the areas of its territorial claims, leaving the opponent only two options: increase tensions and lose in case of hostilities, or agree to the constant presence of the Chinese military. Having the opportunity to make long flights over a significant part of the South China Sea, the PLA Air Force will most likely activate air patrols. This could lead to more frequent clashes in various places, create more opportunities for minor crisis situations and allow China to create new “facts on the ground” to then begin negotiations on a peaceful settlement. This potential, combined with the already considerable forces of ballistic missiles and other weapons of “prohibiting access”, provides Beijing with important trumps and acts as a deterrent to hostilities. China is able to project its military power over a significant part of the territory of Southeast Asia and over most of the ASEAN countries.

An aircraft with a longer range is not only a deterrent, capable of staying longer in the combat mission zone. Areas such as Hainan are more vulnerable to attacks by cruise missiles and carrier-based forces than those located behind a bristling palisade of Chinese air defense. Because of the dense radar coverage zone, shorter-range interceptor aircraft and powerful anti-aircraft missile systems, it is tempting to deploy airplanes in mainland China. However, Su-35, having a greater range, can without special difficulties fly from the inland areas to many places in the South China Sea.

Su-35 ground-based and long-range patrol airplanes are one of the best ways for China to maintain its ability to prohibit other countries from accessing these areas. This task is becoming even more urgent now that the United States has announced plans to send F-35 aircraft to the region, which are likely to be stationed at important bases in Korea and Japan.

In the United States and its allies, there may be a discrepancy in capabilities between the aging aircraft and the F-35 sent there. But China is rapidly removing from service old models of equipment, upgrading more modern systems and trying to acquire newer aircraft. Su-35 is an important step in this direction.

Su-35 can not act on equal terms with the American F-22. However, the number of these machines is insignificant, and the risk of their use is small, in connection with which Su-35 for some time will surpass any aircraft in the region. And although the Su-35 has much more maneuverability than the Su-27, the presence of similarities between the Su-35 and earlier Sukhoi machines means minimizing the efforts on the rear support system and retraining of the pilots. This, in turn, increases the state of fitness for use and combat use. It is unclear exactly where the Su-35 will be used - in the PLA Air Force or in naval aviation. But if they are stationed at the Suixi airbase in Guangdong, joining the 2 division with headquarters in Zhanjiang (military unit 95357), these vehicles will complement the Su-27 aircraft already based there. Another profitable option is a naval aviation base in Lingshui, Hainan Province (it is known for having an American aircraft EP-2001 reconnaissance aircraft made an emergency landing there in 3. Su-35 can replace J-based and rapidly aging aircraft based there. -8B.

The technologies used in the creation of the Su-35 will benefit Chinese aviation, but an even greater benefit is that they will carry out deterrence and deterrence tasks in the South China Sea. The forces of China currently deployed there are capable of causing significant damage to a potential adversary, such as the Philippines, without it. This country cannot effectively resist the territorial claims of the PRC without possessing combat-ready Air Force and Navy, which mainly include former US Coast Guard boats built in 1960. Since Sukhoi airplanes have a greater range of fuel and are able to carry out refueling in the air, they will be able to stay longer on combat patrols and intercept, acting within the framework of ensuring territorial requirements. And if you look into the future, the combination of the Su-35, which is in service with smaller Chinese fighter jets, modern anti-aircraft missile systems, ballistic and long-range cruise missiles, will create a powerful, in-depth defense system to defend Chinese claims the hunt to intervene in case of a conflict between China and its neighbors.
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  1. 10kAzAk01
    10kAzAk01 5 December 2013 07: 18
    The Su-35 surpasses all Filipino and Vietnamese aircraft (and surface ships, for that matter) in terms of flight and firing range, which makes their territorial claims inappropriate.

    ours want to sit backwards on two chairs with both China and Vietnam, oh we feed the beast ..... where will he then run?
    1. Vovka levka
      Vovka levka 5 December 2013 10: 45
      Quote: 10kAzAk01

      ours want to sit backwards on two chairs with both China and Vietnam, oh we feed the beast ..... where will he then run?

      To the north. At school, children are taught that before Baikal this is their territory. So that the generation will grow up with such thoughts and wait for trouble.
      1. Uncle Vitya
        Uncle Vitya 5 December 2013 11: 02
        I watched something like a TV show about China ... so in the northern provinces of China, Russian is taught intensively in schools! The children themselves say that Russia is their future homeland! Here it is! That's what Russia needs to be afraid of!
        It is not for nothing that almost the whole world is trying to establish friendship with China, this is where the country of victorious communism and developed socialism are!
      2. SAG
        SAG 6 December 2013 00: 27
        what is the title of your comrade? belay
        ... Generalisimus SS? lol
    2. Airman
      Airman 5 December 2013 12: 13
      Quote: 10kAzAk01
      ours want to sit backwards on two chairs with both China and Vietnam, oh we feed the beast ..... where will he then run?

      "Ours" from Rosoboronexport do not have enough candy wrappers, and they think little about the country's defense capability. Let them first saturate the needs of their Air Force with these aircraft, and then think about sales.
    3. Kibalchish
      Kibalchish 5 December 2013 14: 24
      Oh, this "aid" to China will come back to haunt us.
      1. alpenstock
        alpenstock 6 December 2013 04: 09
        why in the 90s, when the complete collapse of everything and everything was, did not go around? there you could take everything with your bare hands, blue would not have noticed.
        1. Vladimir 23rus
          Vladimir 23rus 16 December 2013 02: 39
          and they took whoever wanted, and who did not want them FORCED TO TAKE. pissed off everything, eat up the legacy of the USSR.
  2. Sunjar
    Sunjar 5 December 2013 07: 19
    I do not even know. They need to sell military equipment of the same quality that they offer most countries. And then somehow it becomes uncomfortable. Not only will they copy our planes, they will also have ours. As a result, in case of war, we will fight with our own aircraft, and China will have a larger number of them. But on the other hand, it is not a fact that it will be so, but for the USA and Japan there will be an additional smut. It may even happen that the Su-35 and the F-35 fight begin.

    About the Japanese: in Battlefield 4, you can pile the Chinas (a rare game from the West that the Japanese liked), but in reality they squeeze the islands. It's funny
  3. Old_kapitan
    Old_kapitan 5 December 2013 07: 34
    American Predator and other drones can be continuously in the air for hours, because they have longer wings and.
    It was amusing ... So, plant the pilot and the weight immediately wave from one and a half to thirty tons? laughing
  4. makarov
    makarov 5 December 2013 07: 49
    It is not clear why the author concludes that China needs the Su-35 only to confront Japan and the USA.
    China, as their possible owner, can use them WHERE IT WANTS. And he will not seek any advice or permission from anyone.
  5. PSih2097
    PSih2097 5 December 2013 08: 05
    How China plans to use the Su-35

    how - how, copy of course ...
    1. bif
      bif 5 December 2013 10: 00
      Quote: PSih2097
      how - how, copy of course ..

      "The Chinese have the" save toner "option in the copier by default. The copy will be faint anyway." comment from source))
  6. Old_kapitan
    Old_kapitan 5 December 2013 08: 16
    how - how, copy of course ...

  7. umah
    umah 5 December 2013 08: 57
    And probably fly and scare enemies.
  8. ed65b
    ed65b 5 December 2013 09: 10
    the author certainly painted in a very peculiar way, Su 35, according to the author, of course shit, but dangerous. but the raptor is certainly super but not enough. And the most important thing is the supply of kerosene, the rest is secondary.
  9. ReifA
    ReifA 5 December 2013 09: 13
    Then the whole world will be with Chinese copies of the Su-35, and Russia will play with the budget to order the next 10 pieces, bypassing the stools?
    Doing this business is far from my understanding ..
  10. alex popov
    alex popov 5 December 2013 09: 43
    I was confused by the author’s small reservation:
    Su-35 can not compete with the American F-22.

    I would like to understand what the author specifically meant? range? Speed? Armament? "stealth"?
    By the way, if the Americans still place the F-35 in Japan, this will be a real opportunity to compare in conditions close to those of the F-35 and Su-35.
    emnip, f-22 is a rare guest abroad, in view of "extreme secrecy". )
    1. Vladimir 23rus
      Vladimir 23rus 16 December 2013 02: 43
      in view of "extreme secrecy". It flies like our T-50 i.e. x ... o.
  11. lukke
    lukke 5 December 2013 09: 48
    However, this modern Russian machine does not give China any new, special opportunities in conflict zones, say, in the sky over the Taiwan Strait.

    Petya Wood, and then what?
  12. propolsky
    propolsky 5 December 2013 10: 33
    Su-35 can not compete on equal terms with the American F-22.
    Haha Sick heads poisoned by ideology! Let your stool learn to fly, and then we’ll see who ran to the streets where in the winter!
  13. Andrey Ulyanovsky
    Andrey Ulyanovsky 5 December 2013 10: 42
    To reduce the purchase of a new weapon system to an increase in the range is nonsense; they are not getting a golf club with a long handle! An excellent car meets the tasks of the PLA Air Force and, plus, copy this car. Here the question is - what for these "friends" to sell the wunderwaffe, if it is possible to lease a long-term lease according to the Indian scheme and service the wings on their own without cunning copyists? And won't the sale be a kind of spit in the eyes of Vietnam and India?
  14. Alekseev
    Alekseev 5 December 2013 11: 06
    Quote: ReifA
    Then the whole world will be with Chinese copies of the Su-35

    I don’t think that buying a plane is the same as buying technology.
    Chinese, or any other, copies will be similar to the original only in appearance.
    Another thing is that if you relax, they can technologically jump off.
  15. Uncle Vitya
    Uncle Vitya 5 December 2013 11: 07
    [quote = Sunjar] As a result, in case of war, we will fight with our own aircraft, and China will have a larger number of them.

    According to the mobilization plans of the Chinese General Staff, in the event of war, 100 million people will become under arms in China in the first week of mobilization of people !!!
    Something seems to me that in 100 or 200 years there will be not planet Earth, but planet China ...
  16. Nick888
    Nick888 5 December 2013 11: 36
    And although the Su-35 has much greater maneuverability than the Su-27, the presence of similarities between the Su-35 and Sukhoi's earlier aircraft means minimizing efforts on the rear support system and retraining pilots. This, in turn, increases the state of suitability for use and combat use.
    And also, the fact that China's industry does not have to prepare for a long time to replace production from su-27 to su-35.
  17. Starover_Z
    Starover_Z 5 December 2013 12: 14
    It’s dangerous to sell your high-tech weapons with high maneuverability and range, not to sell — they will buy from others, we will lose the market.
    So it’s necessary, like Americans, to build dual-purpose controllers in control. While they are using it on the side - everything is in order, they wanted to use it against us - block control dead and let them turn into piles of iron! And without a controller so that it does not work at all.
    And only in this way to sell all modern weapons, at the same time, its own microelectronics will rise!
    1. Vladimir 23rus
      Vladimir 23rus 16 December 2013 02: 46
      Your words yes to god in ears
  18. Jurkovs
    Jurkovs 5 December 2013 12: 57
    They write that for the SU-35 "superiority in aerial combat is not a key commercial advantage," then they immediately write that the Su-35 has the best maneuverability and generally the best fighter in the world. The article was written to intimidate the Japanese layman and nothing more. If all such articles are published here, then we will not have enough time to read.
  19. sashka
    sashka 5 December 2013 14: 16
    Passengers of the Magnitogorsk-Moscow flight, which on Thursday made an emergency landing at the Chelyabinsk airport, will go to their destination on another flight
    Pogosyan, as always in shock .. Or frenzy?
  20. engineer74
    engineer74 5 December 2013 14: 28
    ... create a powerful, deeply layered defense system to uphold Chinese claims, which will discourage other countries from interfering in the event of a conflict between China and its neighbors.

    Defense for defending claims - i.e. aggression - something new, again the brain blew ... sad
    1. sashka
      sashka 6 December 2013 16: 28
      Quote: engineer74
      Defense for defending claims

      Twenty years is not enough for understanding. It should be for life .. How's the movie? lifelong CEC on the nails .. And Ku will not help here.
  21. scientist
    scientist 5 December 2013 15: 50
    Perhaps the Su-35 is good for free search. However, the A-50 and the KRLDN will cope with this task much more efficiently. And the radar equipment and SPD, which will automatically guide the Su-35 according to information from the A-50 and KRLDN, REB-S can also become a topic for negotiations. If we are helping to solve the problem of China in the South China Sea and with Japan, which claims to our islands, then we need to solve it in a comprehensive way, as this is necessary when the organization of the air defense system is competent.
  22. IOwTZ
    IOwTZ 5 December 2013 16: 06
    Everything is fine. Let ours sell while they are sharpened for showdown in Southeast Asia. They do not stick to us, I am 100% sure. The Chinese are not frostbitten, they are a peaceful nation. And they understand that even if the Japanese piled on them, then we shouldn’t be, it’s better to negotiate with us and just in case be friends if they need help from the North. What they basically do. The Chinese will get the Su-35, copy it, and then their own production planes will after a while roll in from the sky like bird droppings, and by this time we will already have the Su-36, Su-38. And then, from the bottom, India and Vietnam. If China pull the rope, then it will spread like an old shirt.
  23. Deniska
    Deniska 5 December 2013 17: 41
    I put the article "-" Just by the fact that through the paragraph:
    1. The advantage of the Su-35 is rather in its speed and fuel tank capacity.
    2. The extra time this machine can spend in the air is very important,
    3. Dry have a greater range in fuel and are able to refuel in the air, they will be able to stay on combat patrol longer and ...

    It seems that the author knows about the SU-35 just to the sky add. tanks can be hung, and on the basis of this "tells" us the need for these machines.

    p / s but this is just my opinion))
  24. alone
    alone 5 December 2013 20: 07
    complete mess in assessing the directions of Chinese aviation in a possible war and + real ignorance about the su-35.

    P.S. about the sale of the su-35 to the Chinese, it’s dangerous, moreover, in twins. In the first, you strengthen the already strong
    China, and secondly, the Chinese will not be Chinese unless they try to copy this fighter!
  25. Jitel
    Jitel 20 December 2013 11: 39
    Nonsense. Ignorance of the subject. Something I don’t think ours will be sold to the Chinese by a new fighter after they entered with the previous contract and bought our planes from the yellow-plaque bypass.