Moscow: Russia and China may soon sign a USD 4-billion contract for 48 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jets, the Kommersant business daily said on Tuesday.

"The two sides have practically agreed on the delivery of 48 Su-35 multi-role fighters, worth USD 4 billion, to China," Kommersant said citing a source in the Russian defense industry.

According to the paper, the only obstacle remaining is Moscow's demand that Beijing should guarantee the protection of copyright on the production of Su-35s without proper licensing.

"Moscow is not only aiming to ensure its presence on the Chinese (combat aircraft) market, but also attempting to prevent the potential copycat production of Russian aircraft for subsequent sales to third parties with predatory pricing," a Russian government source told Kommesant.
China has a poor record concerning copycat manufacturing of advanced Russian combat aircraft. The Chinese Chengdu J-10 fighter is heavily based on the cancelled Israeli Lavi fighter demonstrator, the Shenyang J-11 is a replica of Su-30 Flanker-C, and FC-1 uses Russian engines and other technology from the MiG-29.

The Su-35, powered by two 117S engines with thrust vectoring, combines high maneuverability and the capability to effectively engage several air targets simultaneously using both guided and unguided missiles and weapon systems. The aircraft has been touted as "4++ generation using fifth-generation technology".