MOSCOW. Jan 24 (Interfax-AVN) - The Russian arms export agency Rosoboronexport has not received and has not considered any proposals from China on buying Tu-22M3 long-range bombers, Rosoboronexport spokesman Vyacheslav Davidenko told Interfax-AVN on Thursday.
"No negotiations on this issue have been held or are being held," Davidenko said in commenting on media reports referring to Chinese websites claiming that China may buy 26 Tu-22M3 planes from Russia for $1.5 billion.
Rosoboronexport has no information on this score, Davidenko said.
Chinese websites may publish almost anything, but this information "most often is not worth any attention," he added.
Vasily Kashin, an expert from the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), said earlier that reports suggesting that Russia could sell a shipment of Tu-22M3s looked doubtful to him.
"At the present time, the sale of new Tu-22M3 bombers to China, of which media have reported, is hardly physically possible. The manufacturing of these planes was stopped in 1993 and has not been resumed. Nor are the NK-25 engines with which this plane was equipped being manufactured. The resumption of the production of these planes after a 20-year pause would require gigantic investments and years of hard work if it is technically possible at all," Kashin said.
"Rumors suggesting that Russia is selling a shipment of Tu-22M3 bombers to China have regularly appeared on the Internet in China and in Western media outlets over the past ten years. As far as I know, China was earlier interested in these planes, but negotiations did not reach any result," Kashin said.
"Russia could technically ship only old-made Tu-22M3s to the Chinese," he said.
"But even in this case, this would involve a lot of work on their maintenance and re-equipment to make them compatible with Chinese weapons, communications, control systems and so on. And even so China would get an old plane with old engines at a very significant price," he said.
"The project looks even more doubtful considering that China is currently pursuing a program of building modernized H-6K bombers, for which it has been making large-scale purchases of D-30KP2 engines from Russia," he said.
Thanks Dylan for the FYI.