China has signed an arms deal with Russia worth an estimated $1.5 billion, including a contract for up to 38 Ilyushin Il-76 transports and Il-78 tanker aircraft.

“We have reached an agreement under which Russia will export Il-76 transports and Il-78 tankers to China,” Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov said in Sochi, southern Russia, after a meeting of the Russian-Chinese intergovernmental commission for military-technical co-operation. The aircraft will be assembled by TAPO, Uzbekistan.

NPO Saturn, which manufactures the engines for the Il-76, says it expects to sign a contract for Il-76s with D-30KP engines. The value of the engine contract for Saturn is estimated at $300 million for 200 engines.

The deal may also include some of Russia’s most modern and powerful weaponry, including Su-30MK3 multirole fighters with Zhuk MSE radars, Project 677 Lada diesel electric submarines, and Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers, says a source quoted by Russian daily Vedomosti. Other media reports have cited the Tupolev Tu-95 bomber as a possible part of the deal.

A Russian industry source says negotiations are also covering a possible resumption of licence-production of Sukhoi fighters by China’s Shenyang aircraft plant, “although an agreement on this is not likely during this session of the talks”.

The Sochi discussions also covered the progress of a deal for Almaz-Antei S-300PMU2 air-defence missile systems, signed in 2004. Chinese defence minister Tsao Ganchuan and Ivanov signed the deal.

Also present were Russian president Vladimir Putin, head of arms export agency Rosoboronexport Sergei Chemezov and Sukoi general director Mikhail Pogosyan.


Source: Flight International