Procurement: Russia Vexed By Chinese Thieves


August 29, 2007: The Russian government has a growing problem with Russian defense manufacturers complaining about China tolerating, or even encouraging, Chinese manufacturers to steal Russian military technology. It's not entire weapons systems the Chinese are stealing (like aircraft or ships), but components. Radars and electronic systems in particular are being copied, often using samples and technical data provided by Russian manufacturers, in anticipation of a sale. What often happens is that there is no sale, and then, a few years later, the Chinese come out with a copy, often a blatant copy, of the Russian radar, missile or electronic warfare gear. The Chinese have produced several copies of Russian artillery systems (like the 2S19M1 self-propelled 155mm gun or several multiple rocket launcher systems.) The Chinese use their status as a major buyer of Russian aircraft and warships to deflect demands that the copying cease. The Russians now fear that the Chinese will copy major systems, like aircraft or ships, and continue to ignore Russian demands that their intellectual property rights be respected.

This is ironic for the Russians. During the Cold War, much Western military and civilian technology was blatantly copied, including microprocessors and computers themselves, by the Russians. Since the end of the Cold War, Russia has been more careful about this, because the collapse of the Soviet Union opened up the Russian defense labs, and their large store of discoveries that had not been developed into anything useful yet. American manufacturers were eager to get rights to this technology, once they got a good look at it. The Western firms paid, and the billions of dollars that entered the Russian economy that way forced the Russians to reciprocate, and pay for Western technology they wanted. The Chinese have been forced by the West to cut back on some of their blatant theft of foreign technology, except for Russian military stuff. The Russians are getting fed up, and the government is under pressure to crack down on the Chinese theft. Russia, flush with oil revenues and a booming economy, is not as desperate for Chinese arms business as they used to. Things are going to get interesting.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close