While talking to a media briefing, one of the representatives of the armed forces of Ukraine, Oleksiy Gromov, made a shocking and unexpected revelation. He said that more than half of the Russian SU-35s that have been purchased by China are not operational. As per the reports, around 15 out of the 24 Russian SU-35s are found defective. These reports left a group of aviation professionals stumped because the SU-35 is considered as one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world. Notably, these SU-35s are also called “the most advanced non-stealth aircraft in the world.”
Gromov said that the majority of these SU-35s purchased by China have incapable electronic onboard systems, and this has been identified as the major cause of them being defective. On the other hand, China has not yet taken any stance on this matter. For that matter, these SU-35s have been renowned for their “far-reaching electronic capabilities” and integrated warfare systems. Moreover, the purchasing agreement regarding these SU-35s between China and Russia took place in 2015, and after a period of three years, China received the last unit of the ordered aircraft in 2018.
When the agreement was concluded, the accumulated price of delivering these 24 Russian fighter jets was calculated to be 2.5 billion USD. Coupled with this, the Chinese defense authorities acknowledged the capabilities of these Russian jets and regarded them as much better than the F-16 in terms of their operational efficiency. The F-16 is manufactured by Lockheed Martin and is also one of the most recognized and demanded fighter jets in the world. Side by side with Su-35s, F-16s are also the most critical fighter jets of the Taiwan Air Force.
To put that into perspective, Russia has incurred a great deal of loss on the two squadrons of SU-35 aircrafts as they have been shot back-to-back during the Russia-Ukraine war. It should be noted that the first unit of this squadron was fired in April, this year. Along with this, countries across the world are also refusing to buy SU-35s, which has caused a major decline in their purchasing. The most recent event occurred in January when Algeria declined to give orders for these Russian SU-35s as, according to Algeria, the jets have some onboard radar technical issues. In the same way, Egypt and Indonesia have also refused to take SU-35s on board.
Till then, let’s see what China’s take on these doubts will be and how it will defend its favorite jet.