This post on China’s purchase of eight Kilo-class Russian diesel subs generated a lot of discussion. I said, “Don’t worry,” and a lot of you agreed — sometimes in stunning detail.
In a similar vein, China is having problems with those squadrons of modern Su-27 Flankers they bought from the Russians just ten years ago. According to Taiwanese sources — who are more likely to inflate the Chinese threat — China has only 31 of their 46 Flankers still in service.
Oops. According to my math, they’ve lost (or lost use of) a third of their best planes in only ten years. And it’s not like the Russians won’t sell them spare parts or hire out technicians.
China’s problem lies in trying to marry 1990s technology to a 1960 military. It will be interesting to watch the divorce.