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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

China Eyes 30 Sukhoi Fighters

State arms dealer Rosoboronexport is near a deal to sell its top client China another batch of Sukhoi fighter jets, a top defense industry official said.

Givi Dzhandzhgava, president of Tekhnocomplex, which supplies avionics for the Sukhoi's Su-30 series, said on the sidelines of the Farnborough International Airshow in England last week that China will buy around 30 Su-30MK2 naval fighters, on top of the 80 Su-30MKKs it bought in 1999 and last year.

Dzhandzhgava declined to put a price tag on the deal, but analysts estimated it to be worth at least $1.2 billion.

Neither Rosoboronexport nor Sukhoi could be reached for comment Monday.

The Su-30MK2 is a modified version of the Su-30MKK. The biggest difference between the two models is that the Su-30MK2 is a naval striker equipped with X-31A anti-ship missiles, according to Valentin Kovinsky, chief designer at the Ramenskoye Instrument-Building Bureau, which is part of Tekhnocomplex.

"It has been through the tests and is ready to be sold," Kovinsky said.

The Zvezda-Strela Center in Korolyov makes the X-31A.

Konstantin Makiyenko, deputy head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said the deal would be "major" for Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aviation Production Association, the maker of the plane.

He said the deal would be "major" for China, too. "The Americans won't be roaming in the Taiwan Strait [after this deal]," he said.

Makiyenko said buying 30 more Sukhoi fighters would give China a total of around 400.

China took delivery of 26 Su-27SK/UBKs in 1992 and another 22 in 1995. Then, in 1996, China signed a contract to produce200 Su-27SKs under license.

Makiyenko said the Chinese could be following a similar pattern, calling clinching a licensing contract for the Su-30MKK "a logical thing to do."