Continued from page 1

Touted as the best fourth-generation fighter jet, the Su-35 is a much improved version of the Su-27 and boasts a superior engine design. Initially, the Chinese wanted to buy just a few Su-35s, apparently as samples for reverse engineering.

The Russians became suspicious and refused to sell Su-35s in small numbers to China and instead asked China to sign a pledge that it would respect Russia’s intellectual property rights before any sales could be inked.

The negotiations lasted years. China wanted to buy just four jets, but Russia insisted on a much larger number.

The sale of 100 Su-35s to China is larger than what most analysts had expected. Russian media reported that one Su-35 costs about $80 million.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at and @yu_miles.