Turkey could consider buying Sukhoi Su-57 fifth generation fighter jets if the United States abandons a deal to sell F-35 aircraft to Ankara as punishment for procuring S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
Pro-government Turkish military experts voiced in favour of the Russian plane to local media over the weekend, an opinion which Ankara quickly said did not reflect the official view of the Turkish government "not yet."
Significantly, the Russian military tested a couple of Su-57 jets in a missile firing configuration in March over Syria,an exercise which raised eyebrows as the Su-57 is still at a prototype stage and generally prototypes are not flown in a hostile airspace. The move could an attempt to demonstrate its various prowess, including radar evading capability and networking with ground battle-stations, to potential customers.
"Indeed, they were there for a while. Two days. During that time, they completed a program of trials, including combat ones," Russian Defence minister Sergei Shoigu had commented then.
US politicians, including some Congressmen and Senators have come together demanding that Turkey be sanctioned for buying Russian military equipment despite being a part of NATO. Sanctioning Turkey means abandoning a deal to sell some 100 F-35 aircraft, for which Turkey has already started the acquisition process.
A US Senate committee passed its version of a $716 billion defense policy bill on May 24, including a measure to remove Turkey from the F-35 program over its detention of US citizen Andrew Brunson besides purchasing S-400 missile defence system from Russia.