After the Arbitration Court at The Hague handed down the ruling on the South China Sea dispute in favor of the Philippines, a report has emerged saying China is making preparations to deploy a copy of the Russian Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker” multirole fighter into the disputed waters.
It is believed that the Su-27 fighter is the counterpart of the U.S. F-15 Eagle. It is a twin engine fighter jet capable of flying at high speeds and long distances while carrying a bomb load. The original Su-27 is said to have better performing short range air-to-air missiles. It is also said to be able to pull off tighter air maneuvers than the F-15. However, it lags when it comes to its sensors’ capability.
How the Chinese managed to copy the Su-27 fighter, National Interest reports, is through a deal struck between Russia and China back in 1995. China said it would rather pay for a license to assemble Su-27 kits than acquire finished aircraft from Russia. A deal was made amounting to about $2.5 billion. Then in 2004, China canceled the remainder of the contract. The copy of the Su-27 is now known as the J-11B.
Recently, China said it will conduct combat air patrols across the South China Sea. It also said that this will now be a regular activity by the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The announcement came as U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson visited China to meet with Chinese fleet commander Vice Adm. Yuan Yubai.
During the visit, Richardson stressed that the U.S. will continue to “conduct routine and lawful operations” in the South China Sea. “In this area , we must judge each by our deeds and actions, not just by our words,” Richardson added.