Russian agency TASS reported that Russia is ready to partner with China in the supply of Sukhoi Su-35 multipurpose combat aircraft, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugaev told reporters at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF-2021). To date, no new applications from China for the purchase of additional batches of multirole Su-35 fighters have been received. At the same time, Russia is ready for further cooperation with the Chinese side on this topic upon receiving relevant requests. The sixth Eastern Economic Forum is being held in Vladivostok on September 2-4 in a hybrid (combined online and in-person) format.
In November 2015, China became the Su-35’s first export customer when the Russian and Chinese governments signed a contract worth $2 billion to buy 24 aircraft for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Chinese officials had reportedly first shown interest in the Su-35 in 2006, it was not until 2010 that Rosoboronexport, the Russian state agency responsible for the export and import of defence products, was ready to start talks with China over the Su-35. Russian officials publicly confirmed that talks had been going on in 2012, when a protocol agreement on the purchase was signed.
There were subsequent reports of the two countries signing a contract and of imminent deliveries, but negotiations would not actually conclude until 2015. Sales discussions were protracted due to intellectual property rights concerns. China had reverse engineered the Su-27SK and Su-33 to create the J-11B and J-15, respectively, there were fears of China copying the airframe and offer the copied design on the export market.The Chinese military received the first four aircraft in December 2016. The Su-35S entered service with PLAAF in April 2018, and are based in Guangdong province in southeast China. In June 2019, Russia offered China a second batch of Su-35s.
The Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is the designation for two improved derivatives of the Su-27 air-defence fighter. They are single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable aircraft, designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and built by the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant. The Su-35’s thrust-vectoring system and integrated flight- and propulsion-control systems allow the aircraft to attain “supermaneuverability”, enabling it to perform post-stall manoeuvres at low speeds. The PLAAF Su-35s can reportedly be armed with air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, unguided rockets, guided bomb units and unguided bombs including the R-27 (AA-10 ‘Alamo’), R-73 (AA-11 ‘Archer’), RVV-family air-to-air missiles, as well as Kh-35E (AS-20 ‘Kayak’) anti-ship missiles.