Will the deal be worth it for Moscow in the long-run?
The last of the Su-35s that China is purchasing from Russia will be delivered this year, according to a Russian state-owned corporation.
During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum from May 24–26, Rostec, a state-owned company, announced that the last ten Su-35s would be delivered to China in 2018, according to reports in Russian media. Rostect was the entity that officially signed the agreement for the fighter jets with the Chinese government. Beijing became the first foreign country to purchase the Su-35 when it agreed to pay $ 2.5 billion for twenty-four planes in November 2015.
As the National Interest has previously noted, China received the first four planes from Russia in late 2016 before getting another ten Su-35s last year. Beijing formally inducted the Su-35s into service in April of this year. “The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has commissioned Su-35 fighter jets,” a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Defense said at the time. “As a multi-role fighter jet, the Su-35 is capable of precision strikes on ground and sea targets.” Even before then, in February 2018, China’s Su-35s took part in air combat drills over the South China Sea. According to media outlets, this was the first time Beijing had sent the planes on a public deployment.