A rocket carrying the GLONASS-K satellite at Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome.
Russia is looking to acquire electronic precision components worth several billion dollars from China in light of economic sanctions from Europe and the United States, reports Global Times, a tabloid under the auspices of the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily.
Citing Russian media reports, Global Times said Russian manufacturers will struggle to meet demand for electronic components required for the country's aerospace and military fields over the next two years due to ongoing sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.
As a result, Russia is turning to China to fill the gap, with one source from the Russian Federal Space Agency telling media outlets that they are currently working with the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation, the main contractor for the Chinese space program. The Chinese company's research and development center has already offered several dozen proposals on how their products can replace those previously acquired from the US, the source said, adding that they are currently in the process of translating the technical data, testing product sensitivity, temperatures and vibrations to assess component compatibility.
A spokesperson from another Russian missile and aerospace company said that given the economic sanctions, they are open to cooperating with China as long as the quality, manufacturing speed and pricing is competitive.
Russia acquires around US$2 billion in electronic components from the US every year, much of which goes into hi-tech systems in Russia's aerospace and military projects. Around 75%-80% of Russia's GLONASS-M satellite, for instance, is made from components supplied by Western countries.
Chinese military expert Wang Yanan told the Global Times that there is a strong chance of China and Russia working together due to economic sanctions. While the standard of China's component products and research and development are not the highest in the world, its product systems are very complete and self-sufficient, and are continuing to improve and advance, he said. If they can continue working together and build of each other's strengths, China and Russia could break down the electronics monopoly that has been held by the West for many years, he added.
An unnamed Chinese aerospace expert said in an interview with the Global Times that while China can help Russia solve a lot of its components shortage problems it cannot solve all its problems because some products cannot be perfectly replaced. Chinese products may also be incomplete or might require more time to properly match with Russian platforms. But buying from China has distinct advantages too, including security of supply and cheaper prices, the expert added.
Apart from electronic precision components, laser equipment at the Mulino training center of the Russian Ground Forces supplied by Germany can also be replaced by those produced by Chinese companies, accoring to Russian media reports