China Takes Delivery of Advanced Russian Fighter Bombers

by Bill Gerts

Washington Times

February 14, 2003


Russia delivered the latest batch of advanced SU-30MKK fighter bombers to China within the past month and additional jets are on the way, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

Russia's arms exports used to be public. But under pressure from Beijing, Moscow agreed to keep secret its major weapons systems transfers to China.

Intelligence officials tell us there are indications the Russians are planning to transfer a new and highly effective air-to-ground missile known as the AS-17x as part of the Su-30MKK deal.

The Su-30MKKs are one of the most visible elements of China's military buildup that is quickly tipping the military balance in the Taiwan Strait in favor of the mainland.

Other recent Russian weapons sent or on the way to China include Su-27s, A-50 airborne warning and control aircraft, Mi-17 helicopters, AA-12 air-to-air missiles, Sovremenny guided-missile destroyers, SA-10 and SA-15 surface-to-air missiles. China also has been given the licensing rights to produce a Russian flamethrower.