Sanction Circumvention: Russia Ramps Up Su-35 Production Despite Microchip Ban, Reveals Satellite Analysis

In the face of Western sanctions aimed at curtailing Russia’s access to essential microchips and semiconductor parts, Russia has demonstrated its capability to sustain and potentially escalate the production of Su-35 fighter jets. This assertion is backed by detailed satellite surveillance of a Komsomolsk-on-Amur factory conducted by SpaceKnow, a Czech tech firm employing advanced AI for satellite image analysis. Despite a supposed shortage of microchips due to sanctions, the production of Su-35 aircraft has notably increased, as evidenced by satellite imagery showing a rise in the number of jets at the facility, from a mere two in 2020 to 29 fully assembled planes by October 2023.

This surge in production aligns with Russia’s ambitions, underscored by Deputy General Director of Rostech’s public claims of doubling Su-35 production efforts. This development occurs despite international sanctions and highlights a significant breach in enforcing these sanctions. Russia continues to obtain critical Western-made microchips through third countries like Turkey, Kazakhstan, and the UAE, amounting to around $1.2 billion in components from major Western firms.

The situation underscores the urgent need to address the loopholes in current sanctions regimes and halt the indirect financing of military advancements that could be used in terroristic actions, such as the ongoing aggression against Ukraine. It is imperative to strengthen international oversight and enforcement mechanisms to prevent Russia from acquiring technology that supports its military capabilities, thereby cutting off a crucial funding source that could support aggression acts or terrorism.

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