Support The Moscow Times!

China Buys Russian Advanced Fighter Jets for $2 Billion

Despite a drop-off in military spending after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian arms are still cutting-edge in many sectors, such as air defense systems and armored battle tanks.

Russia has agreed to sell 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets to China for more than $2 billion, in the first sale of the cutting-edge warplane to a foreign country, the Kommersant newspaper reported Thursday.

The deal tightens the military bonds between Russia and China — a key aim for Moscow following its falling-out with the West over the annexation of Crimea last year — and is a timely cash boost for the Kremlin amid a deep recession.

The choice of China as the first foreign buyer of the fourth-generation Su-35, one of Russia's most advanced fighters, “reflects the high level of mutually beneficial cooperation and depth of our strategic partnership,” an executive at state-owned technology and defense conglomerate Rostec, Viktor Kladov, was quoted as saying by news agency RBC.

The two countries have been negotiating the sale of Su-35s, originally designed in the 1980s, since 2011, according to Kommersant. The deal prices each plane at around $83 million, the paper said.

Despite a drop-off in military spending after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian arms are still cutting-edge in many sectors, such as air defense systems and armored battle tanks. Beijing recently bought at least six S-400 surface-to-air missile complexes from Russia for a reported $3 billion.

Weapons are one of the country's key export earners. In total, Russia sold arms worth approximately $15 billion last year.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

As we approach the holiday season, please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world’s largest country.