"We are in discussions with China on this issue," said Mikhail Pogosyan, first vice president on program coordination, Russian Aircraft Corp., during a press conference here at the Aero India trade show.
China produced six J-11B fighters for testing, but despite efforts to produce a suitable replacement for the Russian engine, the new fighter was outfitted with the same AL-31F, said Andrei Chang, a China military specialist at the Kanwa Defense Center. One J-11A was outfitted with the indigenously-built WS10A Tai Hang turbofan engine, but the J-11Bs are still using Russian AL-31Fs due to technical difficulties, Chang said.
Pogosyan and Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov traveled to Beijing in December to attend the 13th session of a Chinese-Russian joint commission on military and technical cooperation and apply pressure to Chinese officials. Ultimately, China agreed to protect intellectual property rights and stop illegally copying Russian military equipment.
"I think this was a big step to make this issue more transparent and more precise in our future discussions," said Pogosyan, who also serves as the general director of Sukhoi.
Russia fears that China would mass-produce cheaper export versions of the Su-27 for the international market, and China feared that Russia would cancel future orders for advanced arms, such as the Su-33 combat jet for China's aircraft carrier program, Chang said. Chinese violations of the end-user agreement would be particularly upsetting to Russia's long-time strategic partner India, if Pakistan buys the Chinese-built Su-27 version.
However, Pogosyan downplayed the quality of the Chinese effort, saying a copy of a copy would not be a good aircraft.
"If we speak about the copy of the airplanes, I think that in this case, the original will always be better than a slightly modified copy," he said. "The original made by the designer who developed the product is always better, and it is a better start for a new program with the original designer and developer than making a fake copy."
He said buying copies makes it difficult to overcome problems occurring during the lifetime of the aircraft, while the original developer knows from experience how to deal with these issues.
Chang does not believe China will honor the intellectual property agreement, or any agreement with Russia, and will continue to develop the J-11B as a totally indigenous aircraft. However, China will move cautiously until it secures deals for the Su-33 carrier-based fighter. China is beginning to build its first aircraft carrier and needs Russian technology and experience, Chang said.
Russia has supplied China with weapons worth a total of more than $25 billion for the past 15 years. Aircraft, ships and air defenses account for the bulk of this sum.
India has imported 60 of the Su with no indigenous capability and continues import planes to the tune of $126 Billion.Chinese J-11s for Pakistan?
The Brazilian decision appeared to have ended the Su-35 program once and for all since Sukhoi had little success finding other customers. Hopes were briefly revived in May 2006 when Venezuela announced interest in the Su-35, but the nation instead chose a variant of the Su-30. The move is largely politically-motivated given recent tensions between Venezuela and the United States over America’s ban on providing support for the Venezuelan F-16 fleet. the Su-35 was revived at least in name in 2007 when Sukhoi announced the aircraft had entered production for the Russian Air Force. This incarnation is also a derivative of the Su-27.
China has acquired 76 Su-27SK fighters from Russia since 1992, and bought a license for production of another 200 planes in 1995, in a deal worth $2.5 billion.