Monday, December 5, 2011

Caveat Empire

It seems the Russians sold the Chinese a zillion dollar aircraft carrier without certain crucial parts and the Chinese are pissed.

They came without "arrestors," needed to capture landing aircraft.... and the Chinese don't know how to bulid them themselves.

And the Russians won't send them.



Russia refuses to sell arresters for Chinese aircraft carrier

Construction of the first Chinese aircraft carrier faced new unanticipated problems; it turned out that the former Soviet carrier Varyag was not equipped with arresters, and it is unclear where China could get them. In 2007 news agency Kanwa exclusively reported from St. Petersburg that China would buy 4 arresters designed by Marine Engineering Research Institute and made by Proletarsky Zavod plant which produces all Russian arresters and arresting hooks. Earlier on, China had contacts with this plant purchasing constituent parts for Project 956E/EM destroyers.

Kanwa reported referring to a source in the plant that the Chinese had visited it many times and declared intentions to purchase at least 4 arresters (the source used the term "purchase"). The talks took place in the office of Rosoboronexport; negotiators of Proletarsky Zavod presented their production, and the Chinese requested for technical information.

In 2011 the authoritative source told to Kanwa reporter that the negotiations were facing unexpected problems – Russian defense industry's authorities had decided not to sell arresters for China.

According to the source, China managed to get arresting hooks from Ukraine instead of buying them directly from Marine Engineering Research Institute and Proletarsky Zavod plant; those arresters were suitable for operational training aircraft JL-9 and "copied" J-15.

What made Russia refuse to sell arresters to China in the very nick of time? Kanwa repeatedly asked Russian defense and foreign ministries about China's purchase of Russian aircraft carrier construction technology. Official reply was the same: "it is prohibited to export strategic armament systems to China. Aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, nuclear weapons production technologies – all that are strategic arms".

However, Kanwa inquired into the subject and it became apparent that real cause of the problem is not only "the ban on strategic arms exports to China" but Russia's discontent with China copying deck-based fighter Su-33. Take note, Marine Engineering Research Institute delivered two arresters for Indian aircraft carrier IAC and modernized Admiral Gorshkov. The institute also took part in construction of naval aviation training center built on Goa, India.

In 2007 the source told to Kanwa that designing and production of arresters was quite complicated process and only Russia and the US had appropriate technology at the moment. "In the past, there used to be four arresters on an aircraft carrier, but the new Indian carrier is equipped with only three arresters, which indicates of high reliability of Russian systems".

I think that under the Uniform Commercial Code the Chinese may have a beef. Article 2 states as follows in salient part:

§ 2-315. Implied Warranty: Fitness for Particular Purpose.

Where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, there is unless excluded or modified under the next section an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose.

Of course, the UCC does not apply in Communist countries.... which the principal of Caveat Empire should apply.

(Thankuh, thankuh, I'll be here all week.....)

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