The United Arab Emirates have shown interest in purchasing Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and will likely sign the contract with Russia for atleast dozen jets by this year end, a Russian news agency reports.
"They want a lot, over a squadron but the exact number will be specified in the course of negotiations that may be held in November during an air show in Dubai," a source in the system of military and technical cooperation told TASS on Tuesday.
The source noted that the contract may be signed by December 2017, if the negotiations work well.
However, TASS asserted that it does not yet have an official confirmation of this information.
A squadron could comprise of anywhere between 12-15 aircraft depending upon the tactical need and deployment.
The image of Russian weaponry has vastly improved in the Middle East, ever since its involvement in the Syrian conflict. Its fighter jets and helicopters are no longer perceived as second grade but on par with comparable western equipment.
The performance gap between the top-of-the-line US-made F-35 and F-22 and older aircraft such as the Super Hornet, F-16V and Typhoon has prompted air forces in the region to look at latest generation Russian equipment, especially that which has been proven in the Syrian conflict.
The Su-35 is a multipurpose 4++ generation super-maneuverable fighter jet equipped with a phased array radar and steerable thrusters. It can develop a speed of Mach 2.5 with a range of 3,400 kilometers and a combat radius of 1,600 kilometers which will enable it to hit many targets in the neighborhood of the UAE without refueling.