Thursday, December 3, 2009

The state of China/Russia military cooperation

Today, I read this article by a Russian paper regarding the military cooperation between China and Russia. I think it really does a great job of explaining why there haven't been a major deal recently and why it probably would not happen anytime soon. The important point is that this article didn't dwell on the so called pirating efforts of China against Russian hardware, so it was able to explore some of the major reasons why nothing is going on. It clearly identifies IL-76 and S-400 as the 2 major items that China would most likely want from Russia at the current time and why they are not coming through.

With respect to the last paragraph, I think the idea of pirating will be a problem for a while, because the two sides really can't agree on what constitute pirating. The copyright laws in the two countries are actually not the same. So even though they signed an agreement, I'm not sure it will work out as the Russians want.

The crisis in the Russian defence industry is hindering the
development of military-technical cooperation with the Middle Kingdom.

Military cooperation between Russia and China in the weapons business
sphere, it appears, is experiencing a severe crisis. This is shown by
the results of the visit to Russia by the Chinese government
delegation headed by Colonel General Guo Boxiong, deputy chairman of
the PRC's Central Military Commission, that concluded last Friday [27
November].

General Guo Boxiong (on the left) rubbed shoulders with Dmitriy
Medvedev but apparently left Moscow empty handed.

The military leader from China came to discuss prospects for military-
technical cooperation (VTS) between the two countries. President
Vladimir Medvedev received Gou Boxiong. He noted that "a firm
partnership is developing between the two countries, and it is based
upon a coincidence of our basic interests." The day before, in the
presence of Defence Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and Federal Service
for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) Director Mikhail Dmitriyev,
Russia's leader met for a long time behind closed doors in Barvikha
with the Chinese guests. On 24 November the delegation from China was
at the Kapustin Yar proving ground in Astrakhan Oblast where new
developments in prospective armament models were demonstrated for it.
And the next day [25 November] the 14th session of the Russian-Chinese
Joint Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (SMK) was held in
Moscow under the chairmanship of Anatoliy Serdyukov. According to
Irina Kovalchuk, the defence minister's press secretary, at the
session "the sides expressed satisfaction with the state of bilateral
military-technical cooperation."

Nevertheless, it is striking that neither the Russian nor the Chinese
sides expected the present meeting to end in the signing of any sort
of documents about weapons purchases. Foreshadowing the SMK session,
Mikhail Dmitriyev stated that all areas of bilateral collaboration
"will be examined" at it: aircraft building, engines, ships, PVO [air
defence] systems, and armoured equipment. Although "the adoption of
any breakthrough decisions or the signing of any contracts is not
expected." Why it is "not expected" is completely understandable.
Beijing already has bought everything that is possible in Moscow, and
it will produce the greater share of weapons by itself. And all of the
new types of weapons that the PRC needs are only at the development
stage in Russia, or else there are problems in producing them.

For example, the last "breakthrough contract" between Moscow and
Beijing was concluded as far back as 2005 in Sochi. At issue were
deliveries to the PRC by 2010 of 34 Il-76 military-transport airplanes
and four Il-78 refueling airplanes, at a total cost of more than one
billion dollars. But, as is well known, the Chkalov Tashkent Aircraft
Production Association (TAPOiCH, Uzbekistan), where the airplanes
mentioned are produced, defaulted and the contract was broken. As
sources in the FSVTS reported to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the question of
buying heavy military transport airplanes also was raised during the
present round of Russian- Chinese contracts, but Moscow was not able
to make the Chinese comrades happy in any way.

We would note that during the time of Guo Boxiong's visit to the
Russian Federation President Medvedev visited Ulyanovsk. The media
paid attention to the dressing down that the president gave to the
military in that city in connection with the explosions at the Navy's
No 31 Arsenal. Meanwhile, having arrived in Ulyanovsk Dmitriy Medvedev
immediately left the airport and headed first of all to the Aviatstar
SP [joint venture] aircraft-building plant, to which the production of
the Il-76 will be transferred from Tashkent. Together with others of
the aviation enterprise's innovations, they also showed him the plans
for a new aircraft (Il-476) based on the Il-76 airplane, where the
newest aviation navigation and control systems are used and where in
addition to everything the configuration of the wing is changed.

On the same day in Ulyanovsk, in addition to a session of the State
Council for Nanoinnovation [Gossovet po nanonovatsiyam: According to
the Kremlin website, Medvedev participated in a session of the State
Committee for Questions of Innovative Development of Russia's
Transportation System in Ulyanovsk on 24 November], a session of the
board of directors of the Amalgamated Aircraft Manufacturing
Corporation (OAK) was held under the chairmanship of Deputy Premier
Sergey Ivanov to determine plans for Russian aviation. Notable among
these is a plan for "the programme for producing the Il-476 to be set
in motion at the Ulyanovsk aircraft plant: the airplane is expected to
be rolled out in 2010 and will be tested in 2011." Thus it was
demonstrated to the PRC that Russia is developing modern aviation
technology, but the Chinese still will not see the new military
transport airplane very soon. Judging from present Russian experience,
testing the airplane will take a long time.

Besides this, the Russian Air Force is in great need of these
airplanes. The same thing could be said about other new Russian
defence industry developments. Let us say that on 24 November at the
Russian Air Force's Kapustin Yar proving ground the Chinese admired
the S-400 surface-to-air missile (ZRS) system. But it was hinted to
them that they are unlikely to that soon either. In the first place,
the Russian armed forces will have to be equipped with it, and in the
second place - and perhaps this is the most essential point - the
shortcomings that the S-400 has must be eliminated. Air Force
Commander in Chief Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin unambiguously
hinted at this on 26 November. According to him, the tactical-
technical characteristics that are set for this surface-to-air missile
system "still have not been completely obtained". Therefore, the
general says, together with the PVO Almaz-Antey concern it is still
necessary to carry out a great deal of work in order for "the
necessary results to be achieved".

The Chinese were shown other new types of weapons, but Russia does not
want to sell them "simply for the sake of selling them". From all
accounts, Moscow wants to establish gentlemen's agreements with
Beijing in the area of military-technical cooperation in order to
avoid pirate copying of our technology. In this connection one can
recall the scandal fanned by the media about the fact that Moscow is
thinking about refusing to sell Beijing a major part of the SU-33
fighter out of fears that the Chinese will illegally copy this
airplane as they had done earlier with the Su-27. Vyacheslav Dzirkaln,
deputy director of Russia's Federal Service for Military- Technical
Cooperation, thinks that the problem is a real one: "Last year we
signed an agreement on the protection of intellectual property, and I
hope that it will help us solve problems in disputes connected with
the illegal copying of our weapons."

5 comments:

AK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
hbogyt said...

Have we indeginised the PL-12 seeker yet?

Palazzo said...

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Barbara said...

Nice blog .. I never thought that you going to write about it:) thanks a lot

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