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November 28, 2014

Russia signs contract to sell S-400 air defense missiles to China

 
Russia signed a contract to provide S-400 surface-to-air missiles worth US$3 billion to China after years of negotiations, a senior official from the Russian defense industries told Vedomosti, a Russian-language newspaper based in Moscow on Nov. 26.

The spokesperson of Almaz-Antei, the designer of S-400 missile, however, refused to give any comment about the sale. Back in 2011, the Russian government claimed that China will not be able to purchase S-400 missiles before 2016. The Moscow-based Kommersant then reported in the spring of 2014 that president Vladimir Putin approved the deal.

Sergei Ivanov, the chief of staff presidential administration of Russia pointed out that in July of 2014 China would likely become the first overseas buyer of the S-400 missile system. Currently, the People's Liberation Army of China still relies primarily on the S-300 series to defend Chinese air space. Four years ago, China purchased enough S-300 PMU-2 air defense missiles to equip 15 air defense battalions from Russia.

Even though China's air defense capability has gradually advanced over the last 15 years, Vedomosti said that the PLA Navy still needs assistance from Russia to defend critical cities in the southern parts of the nation and disputed islands. The Sina Military Network based in Beijing said that China is very interested in purchasing the longer range version of the S-400 called 9M96. It will help the PLA to gain the technology needed to design more advanced air defense missiles domestically. 
 
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