Russia has been using airstrikes mercilessly to put Ukraine on its knees. After 5 months of horror, Ukraine learned to destroy Russian warplanes and missiles and got more air defense systems from the countries that support Ukraine’s right to exist. Russian losses are compelling it not to end the war but to replenish the weapons for airstrikes. It tries to avoid international sanctions and isolation by getting arms components and inputs from China.
Take an example of the Soviet Su-27 and its numerous upgrades and modifications including Su-30 (Russian, also made in India under Russian license) and J-11 (Chinese, produced independently under an agreement with Russia).
AVIC and its Shenyang Aircraft Corporation
Putin and his envoys have been trying to circumvent sanctions by buying missing parts for Su-27. Russia approached the Chinese state-owned aviation giant AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) and its subsidiary – a factory in the city of Shenyang in the Liaoning province that borders with North Korea.
Last year, The Fortune Magazine celebrated AVIC ranking it as 140th of 500 in the Fortune Global 500 list. Headquartered in Beijing, AVIC has over 100 subsidiaries, 27 listed companies and 500,000 employees worldwide.
Shenyang Aircraft Corporation is a jewel of Chinese technological manufacturing and a prominent member of AVIC. It has focused on planes and equipment for the air force historically but has also tried itself in civil aviation, including joint ventures with Chinese and US manufacturers. It has produced buses and other machinery.
For the military technology, Shenyang Aircraft Corporation has longstanding business ties with Russia’s Sukhoi manufacturers. It has been producing Su-27 under the name J-11 since the late 1990s. It developed multiple upgrades subsequently and no longer depends on Russia for design or production. And it is now Russia that needs Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, and Russia is ready to cash out. A Su-27 plane stripped off weaponry and renovated by enthusiasts was once on sale for under $10 million. Experts give a ballpark number of $35 million for Su-27 deals with African countries. But it is the modern navigation and piloting equipment that costs a lot more because it helps with combat survivability. It seems the Chinese are excited to test their tune-ups against Western air defense.
It seems AVIC and its Shenyang Aircraft Corporation understand the risks too. But it seems they are inching to close the deal and to agree to pretend that the parts are meant for civil aviation. They sell this story internally, they do acrobatics for investor relations and public relations, and they are poised to earn a lot more than usually.
Su-27, Su-30 in the Russian war of annihilation against Ukraine
RussiaVsWorld covered quite a few Russian airstrikes recently because they have grown in its cruelty, geographical scope, and even time of the day. If at the beginning of the war, Russia targeted Ukrainian air defense and logistics, hitting it at dawn, now it programs its deadly weapons to hit civilians during the time of the day when there are as many civilian people as possible, i.e. in the middle of the day in public spaces and after midnight in the residential areas.
Russia’s air squadron commander, Major Alexei Golovensky has been one of the POW pilots captured by Ukraine. Here is how he describes the Russian Naval Aviation units engaged in the war on Ukraine:
My Saki, Crimea-based aviation regiment has two squadrons with Su-24 and Su-30 [upgrade of Su-27]. Su-24s basically don’t fly because they are from older versions. They have been upgraded recently. In principle, due to the fact that the Aerospace Forces gave away their old planes to the naval aviation. And the second squadron was fully equipped with the new Su-30SM. Supermaneuverable. Our experience after flying them for 7 years is the following. They are not very suitable for a complex higher flight as an aerobatic aircraft. They are not suitable for it judging from the means installed on these warplanes for conducting certain hostilities. At least my experience is, I flew over the territory of Ukraine, I didn’t even know that I was being shot down. But generally speaking, everything is included on the plane, everything is there.
This is only a tiny piece of evidence available to the general public. Russia has a lot of Su-27 warplanes ready but their technology from the 1980s is not on par with the modern air defense. And Putin’s Russia was not able to outfit these Soviet warplane with the modern technology even before the sanctions were imposed on Russia.
But getting technological tune-ups from a Chinese state-owned manufacturer is a game changer. It is worth a lot to Russia and that is why Putin is willing to pay dearly.
But people around the world, whether in America, Europe, China or elsewhere in Asia, should be on alert and should not let the Russians kill Ukrainian civilians using technology that China has developed thanks to its hard work and also thanks to commerce with the US, the EU as well as other countries of the world.
History is not on the Russian side. This is a war of aggression and a war of annihilation. It is not the war of the Chinese people at all.
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