The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force’s Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter jets have conducted their debut patrol over the South China Sea.
China has recently sent Su-35 fighter jets for a joint combat patrol mission in the South China Sea area, the air force announced on Wednesday. The deployment is part of the air force’s efforts to carry out military training under combat conditions, it said.
The Su-35 fighter jets participating in such training are expected to enhance the air force’s combat capability under long-distance or high-sea conditions, the statement added.
In 2015, China became the first country to order the Russian-built Su-35 aircraft, ordering 24 examples worth $2 billion. The contract also covers training, ground equipment and spare engines.
First batch of four aircraft were delivered to a flight training center of the Air Force in Cangzhou City in Hebei province in northern China on December 25, 2016. The second batch of 10 advanced fighters were delivered in December last year and the final batch of 10 aircraft are expected to be delivered this year.
Sukhoi Su-35 (Russian: Сухой Су-35; NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is a a single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable 4++ generation multirole fighter, designed by Sukhoi and built by Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO). They are based on the Su-27 fighters.
The first experimental Su-35 was unveiled at MAKS 2007 air show. The aircraft made its international debut at the 2013 Paris Air Show.
The aircraft has a maximum speed of up to 2,500 kilometers per hour, a range of 3,400 kilometers and a combat radius close to 1,600 kilometers. The fighter jet is armed with a 30mm gun and has 12 hardpoints for carrying bombs and missiles.
The Russian Air Force has ordered 98 production units, designated Su-35S. The aircraft was marketed to many countries, including Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and South Korea; only China and Indonesia have so far ordered the Su-35, placing an order for 24 and 11 respectively.