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Russia Catapults China’s Rise to World-Class Military Power

Written by on Friday, January 18th, 2013

From 1992 to 2004, China was the number one customer of Russian military hardware but now with their reverse engineering practices and an industry base that is firmly established, they are no longer relying upon Russia for equipment and ironically, are now competing against Russia for military export sales to other countries.


Over the years China has spent between $20 billion to $30 billion to purchase fighters, submarines, tanks and missiles while they developed their engineering knowledge base and industrial facilities. Typically the Chinese would buy a small number of military hardware from Russia and then reverse engineer the equipment and then turnaround and build a nearly identical copy. The Su-27 Flanker is a perfect example of this practice. The Su-27 Flanker is designed and built in Russia and in 1992, China became the first country to purchase the aircraft, paying $1 billion for 24 fighters. Then in 1996, China paid Russia $2.5 billion for a license to assemble another 200 Su-27s at the Shenyang Aircraft Company in China. Then in 2004, China suddenly canceled the contract buy antibiotics london after only having completed 105 aircraft and three years later unveiled their exact replica of the Su-27 Flanker that they called the J-11B.

At the time, Russia was strapped for cash and needed customers as a way to fuel their economy; little did they know that it would backfire on them in the long run. Although China was the top customer of Russian made hardware through much of the nineties, exports have fallen sharply since 2005. In fact, most military equipment is being produced indigenously by Chinese manufacturers with a healthy dose of reverse engineering from Russian hardware. Not only are the Chinese reverse engineering Russian hardware but they are now looking to undercut the Russians in export sales to other countries.

China has proven that it is capable of buying a piece of military hardware and then reproducing the exact copy and then selling it. China is on the path to becoming a leading arms exporter and a world-class military power and the world can only look on as they march to this goal.


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