Russian-Chinese Relations Warm Up
The cordiality between Russia and China continues, with a further visit in March by Ilya Klebanov, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for defence and aerospace industries and Yury Koptev, Director General of the Russian Aerospace Agency. These latest discussions included cooperation on space exploration, including the possibility of the joint creation of orbit piloted stations, discussions that have led to reports in the Russian press of China buying the Mir space station. Koptev and the Head of the Chinese National Space Administration have agreed to set up a special commission to develop a cooperation programme covering navigation, piloted cosmonautics, space communication and research into outer space. China is reported to have expressed interest in the Russian GLONASS navigating system and further talks will shortly be held on this specific issue.
In addition, the two delegations discussed the potential replacement of China's Il-86s with the Il-96. Russia is also hopeful of Tu-234 and Tu-334 sales to China and, in a new twist to a rather extensive shopping list, it is reported that China is considering the acquisition of the Mi-28N and Ka-50 attack helicopters, so raising the thorny issues of possible licensed production and, more generally, high tech sales that could, in theory, run counter to Russia's national interests. Over the next five years, China is believed to be keen on a licence to produce the Mi-28, or its components, together with AL-31F or RD-33 engines, radar systems for a variety of military aircraft and other navigational components. However, to date, no direct contact has been made with Mil, which claims to have no knowledge of China's intentions in this respect.
In August 1999, Klebanov secured a contract with China for the delivery of some 40 Su-30MKKs and, in November, a contract for 20 Su-27UB trainer aircraft was agreed. The Su-30MKK deal includes a manufacturing license. In 1995, China received licences to produce 200 Su-27SKs over a five year period, in a deal reported to be worth $2.5 billion. Assembly has begun in Shenyang at a Russian-built plant.
It has also been reported that two aircraft repair plants, Vozdvizhensk ARP and Spassk ARP, located in the Far East, are expecting a significant order to repair Russian-manufactured military aircraft, based both in the region and in China. According to Vice-Governor of the Primorsk region, Konstantin Tolstoshein, funding will come from the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) and from China, following the signing of an agreement between China and Rosvooruzhenie on military aircraft repairs.
From ConCISe Aerospace
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