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China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has taken delivery of the first four of 24 Russian-made Sukhoi Su-35 'Flanker-E' multirole fighter aircraft, according to the Russian Aviation website.

The four aircraft arrived on 25 December at a PLAAF flight training centre in Cangzhou, in China's northeastern Hebei Province, said the website. Russia's TASS news agency had previously reported that the first four Su-35s were to "fly over to China" by the same time.

Vyacheslav Shport, the governor of Khabarovsk Krai, had announced in September that the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Production Association (KnAAPO), which produces the aircraft, would deliver all 24 Su-35s between 2016 and 2018.

The aircraft deal, announced in November 2015 by Russian defence conglomerate Rostec, made China the first foreign contractor of the Su-35, which is claimed to be an upgraded and highly manoeuvrable '4++ generation' fighter with characteristics and performance close to those of upcoming 'fifth-generation' combat aircraft.

It is described by IHS Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Development & Production as having a maximum level speed of Mach 2.25 at 11,000 m (36,089 ft), a rate of climb of 16,800 m/min at sea level, a combat payload of 8,000 kg, and a maximum range with internal fuel of 1,529 km (sea level).
 IHS Hanes 

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