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CAST comments
 13 May 2010
 Russian think-tank projects additional Su-30, PAK-FA exports

Jane's Defence Weekly, May 13, 2010 (http://jdw.janes.com/public/jdw/index.shtml)

Reuben F. Johnson, JDW Correspondent, Beijing

Assessments compiled by a Russian think-tank predict another 64 export orders for the Sukhoi Su-30MK series of aircraft in addition to the 136 already under contract.

Analysts from the Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) also predict that Su-30MK sales will decline but only when export models of the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation fighter become available.

Moscow-based CAST is an independent, private defence industrial and foreign policy think-tank with close ties to both Russia's arms export monopoly, Rosoboronexport, and senior Kremlin officials. CAST analysts told Jane's that despite their connections to Rosoboronexport they sought data from multiple sources in compiling their assessment.

India is expected to be the first PAK-FA export customer and plans to co-operate with Russia on developing the two-seat version of the aircraft. However, CAST Director Ruslan Pukhov told Jane's that "Vietnam will be probably the second customer for T-50 in the future. Moreover, every third user of the Su-27/30 family of aircraft are probably going to be customers for Russia's fifth-generation aircraft."

The unknown variable is where the Su-35 'Super Flanker' now fits into Russian plans for promoting exports of its military aircraft. The Russian Air Force is supposed to receive 48 of the type before 2015 and a sale of 24 export models was recently agreed during a state visit to Venezuela by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Also noticeably missing are any projections of future Su-30MKK/MK2 exports to China. Beijing was at one time the major buyer of Sukhoi fighter aircraft, but in 2004 it abruptly truncated a licence-production agreement after manufacturing only slightly more than half of the 200 Su-27SK models originally ordered. China has since begun to build its own version of the aircraft, the J- 11B, at the Shenyang Aircraft Works, which Russia claims is an illegal copy of the Su-27SK/J-11 models originally sold to and assembled in China.

Chinese industry officials claim that the J-11B incorporates many significant design changes from the original Su-27SK/J-11 configuration, including a heavily redesigned inlet that reduces the aircraft's radar cross-section. Chinese naval officials have also expressed interest in procuring as many as 50 models of a modernised version of the Su-33 carrier-capable fighter, but these negotiations remain unresolved.

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