“Russia does not need a military alliance with China, but it is theoretically possible to imagine such a thing”, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on October, 22 at the meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club – a Moscow think tank. “It is possible to imagine everything. We have always assumed that our relations have reached such a degree of interaction and trust. We, in general, do not need this, but theoretically we can quite imagine this,” concluded Mr. Putin.
The Russian leader confirmed that the neighboring nations conduct joint military exercises on a regular basis. The military games go on at sea and on land within both nation’s borders. He noted that Moscow and Beijing are actively cooperating in the military-technical area, having projects “on very sensitive topics” which Russian President didn’t want to disclose publicly.
Mr. Putin stated that existing cooperation “undoubtedly increases the defence capability of the Chinese People’s Army”. He mentioned that closer cooperation in the military sphere cannot be ruled out. “Life will show how it will develop further. We are not going to rule it out. We will see”, concluded the Russian President.
China is one of Russia’s key partners in the field of defence technology. In January 2019, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation of Russia, Dmitry Shugaev, said that the portfolio of orders for military-technical cooperation with China is more than US$ 7 billion. According to the head of Rostec Corporation Sergei Chemezov, China accounts for more than 15% of the Russian exports in this field.
The Rostec annual report has just disclosed several details of this cooperation. According to the document, during 2019 the Russian Helicopters Holding and Rosoboronexport signed several contracts with China on the supply of 120+ various rotorcraft. The number counts 68 Mi-171 helicopters (including the upgraded Mi-171E); 18 Mi-171Sh (military transport) helicopters, 14 Mi-171 helicopters with a VK-2500 engine and 21 Ansat helicopters.
The paper confirms the international debut of the Mi-171Sh Storm (the export version of Mi-8AMTSh “Terminator” military transport helicopter). The machine is intended to carry up to 37 paratroopers. It can transport various cargo inside the compartment and on external sling. It can simultaneously provide a fire support to tactical airborne assault forces, reconnaissance and sabotage groups, while attacking ground targets. The rotorcraft can be also used for the wounded personnel evacuation.
The helicopter is in serial production at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant in Buryatia, East Siberia. It can be equipped with various types of weapons on beam holders on the sides of the fuselage, including guided missiles and unguided rockets. It is also equipped with anti-missile protection and has substantial armor for the cockpit and vital equipment.
In addition, Russia is delivering on a major contract for the supply of S-400 Triumph long range air defense systems and the supply of an extra 24 Su-35 fighters to China.