Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Russian exports to China in deep decline

So, Nezavisimaya Gazeta has apparently come out with an article today saying that Russian exports to China is nearing collapse unless more advanced weaponry are offered. By going through the following articles,
http://www.russiatoday.ru/news/news/20212
http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/01/29/afx4585077.html
and a bloomberg news article
Which are not the original, but apparently took important parts of the original, the problem reside in Russia not offering China hardware such as su-33, fast attack nuclear submarine, multiple launch system, Ka-50 and license to build several weapons under license.

I think we already know that su-33 have been ordered and a couple of them probably have been delivered to China already. Fast attack nuclear submarines are not really allowed to be exported and I don't think China would be interested in loaning Akula with the more advanced 095 SSN project ongoing. As for Ka-50, kamov mentionned a while back to Kanwa that China was not interested it, that's why it cooperated with the Europeans on the WZ-10 project. And as for building weapons under license, I think China is already getting all they want in terms of su-27 and Mi-171 (one of which got assembled in China contrary to Richard Fisher's Russian sources). I'm not denying that there are weapons that Russians are denying China. Tu-160 is one good example of such. However, it seems that China has access to pretty much everything it needs. And currently, the problem is that the IL-76 issue is not resolved. Russia obviously believes that it can get away with this due to the European arms embargo, but China has so far stood firm on the issue. And when this stalemate does end, China will still have a shopping list of Russian hardware that it will purchase. After all, Russian systems are still relatively cheap and more mature than their Chinese counterparts. China does have a philosophy of going for the good-enough, ready made and not necessarily state of the art systems. Anyhow, it would be interesting to see how this plays out.

6 comments:

timurelame said...

The Russian defense minister will be heading to China soon for discussions. Perhaps the IL-76 isuue can be resolved in the near future. Since Russia itself still uses the IL-76 and its variants,
I don't see why the Russians cannot get the contract fulfilled.
Also, the reliability of Russian hardware has been a major problem.

Question: Of all the hardware the Russians currently have, which ones do you think the PLA wants the most? (Of course, the Russians may not want to sell for security reasons.)

Feng said...

Tu-160, without a doubt, but that will definitely not be up for sale.

Outside of that, S-400 would be good.

And for subsystem, Irbis radar (but just a few copy).

dlhh said...

IL-76 is priority for PLA as it would not have enough AWACS & cargo planes if this issue is not resolved.

The PLA also need very capable anti-cruise missiles to counter Taiwans HSF missiles. Would the S-400 do the job?

As for TU-160, its more of a strategic bomber with nukes and which counttry is it aimed at? I don't think the PLA is ready for an arms race with the US or Japan. Taiwan is consumes a lot of its energies!

Feng said...

yeah, hopefully the IL-76 issue gets resolved. large transports is probably the area that China is furthest behind the Russians in.

They got plenty of batteries against HF-2E. I personally think the threat is overstated. S-400 will definitely be useful in any Taiwan scenario.

When I mention tu-160, they are definitely looking for strategic aerial force. used backfire didn't make a lot of sense, but blackjack is in a different league.

Li said...

Area of aircraft engines is where China lacks behind Russia as well...tho this gap is closing with WS-10A.

China definitely needs more transports, this area is critically short. Y-9 is still not ready, IL-76 deal still in standstill...

Question: How mature is the KJ-2000? Will China be building more (hence converting more IL-76)?

Feng said...

it's not very mature, but it's certainly quite an advanced system. I bet they are still learning how to operate AWACS properly. And yes, they will convert more IL-76s in the future. The thing is that Russians know how badly China needs this, so they arbitrarily raised the price. The only bargaining power China has is to refuse negotiation on any other military hardware. Even in heavy helicopter lifts, you can see PLA lacking it's own transport (outside of the expensive Z-8s) and have to purchase Mi-17 variants and Mi-26 on mass and possibly joining Mi-38. It's a problem. I wish they could've just bought An-70, but apparently they'd rather cooperate with Antonov. Anyway, the entire situation is messy.