Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 141

According to a Russian daily, Moscow blundered into its well-publicized and seemingly lucrative deal with China for the provision of advanced Su-27 fighter aircraft, agreeing to sell Beijing licenses to manufacture the plane when defense industrial leaders really hoped that China would buy a significant number of units manufactured in Russia. (See Monitor, February 5 & 8, and Prism, May 3) The report suggested that Mikhail Simonov, general director of the Sukhoi Design Bureau, had negotiated the licensing part of the deal without official authorization, and that Russian leaders later had to put the best face on it. Russian defense experts are said to believe that Beijing will abandon its commitment to buy approximately 50 more Su-27’s off the shelf. Of greater import, they fear that once China begins manufacturing the aircraft itself Beijing will emerge as a competitor of Russia on international markets. The daily uses the Su-27 example to make the argument that although rising arms exports are improving conditions for Russia’s defense enterprises and are proper cause for optimism, the Soviet-era mentality of some of the defense sector’s leading lights ensures that the sector will continue to stumble. (Kommersant-daily July 18) The Su-27 deal with China was estimated to be worth over $2 million.

Tajik Government Threatens Retaliation in Afghanistan.