Russian Sukhoi Corporation is likely to deliver 11 Su-35 jets to export customers and 4 Su-57 stealth aircraft to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov indicated during his visit to the Gagarin Aviation Plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur on Wednesday.
“This year 15 combat planes are due to be delivered by the Gagarin Aviation Plant to the (domestic) customer and under export contracts. Under a large long-term contract for the Su-57, and this year four serial-produced planes will be delivered. The production of generation 4 Plus Su-35 planes continues,” the vice-premier said in comments quoted by TASS in a media interaction at the plant.
So, taking out the four Su-57s, the remaining 11 of 15 fighter jets (to be delivered this year) should be Su-35s as the plant currently manufactures only these two types. It also manufactures the twin-seater Su-34 jets but it completed a long term manufacturing contract for these jets in December 2020 with no fresh orders in the pipeline.
Are these 11 Su-35 jets intended to be delivered to Egypt or is there another customer?
Egyptian authorities have acknowledged they have a deal with Russia for Su-35 jets but declined to comment on its delivery schedule or cost. An order of a minimum 24 aircraft seems plausible give that it will constitute a squadron strength worth of jets.
Among other possibilities is Algeria and China. The latter has already taken delivery of 24 Su-35s with no follow-on orders. There is no information, not even informal, about a possible Algerian purchase of the Su-35.
Of late, the Russian military establishment has been wary of announcing military contracts- especially big ticket items such as fighter jets, large warships and anti-missile systems due to fear of attracting American sanctions, more so than those already heaped upon the country.
The 11 jets could not be for the Russian Aerospace Forces (RuAF) as Russia concluded a supply of 50 Su-35 jets to the RuAF in November 2020. “We have completed the implementation of another long-term contract for 50 Su-35S aircraft in the interests of the Ministry of Defense,” said Yuri Slyusar, General Director of PJSC UAC, General Director of PJSC Sukhoi Company in a November 25, 2020 press release. News of a new Su-35 contract for the RuAF has not been revealed yet.
Meanwhile, Egypt has now 17 confirmed Su-35 fighter jets out of 30. Egyptian blogger, Mohamoud Gamal tweeted that 12 Su-35s are currently in Russia being prepared for delivery to Egypt soon, while five Su-35s were already delivered last year to the Egyptian Air Force.
Earlier, a Russian government report confirmed that Egypt has received five Su-35 Super flanker fighter jets, a new batch of R-73/R-77 air-to-air missiles in 2020 besides (52) MIG-29M/M2 fighters so far, New Defense Order Strategy magazine reported.