Russian President Vladimir Putin showed Turkish President Erdogan the cockpit of the Su-57 stealth fighter jet setting off speculation that Ankara was looking at an alternative to the F-35 should the United States completely cut off Turkey from the program.
After both presidents addressed a gathering at the MAKS-2019 show in Zhukovsky near Moscow , Putin invited Erdogan to see Russia’s newest fighter jet whose export version, the Su-57E officially made its public debut today.
Erdogan was shown around the aircraft by Putin and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) executives. The Turkish leader did not comment on the SU-57 specifically but vowed to deepen defence ties with Russia.
UAC executives have previously commented that they would be willing to offer the Su-57 to Turkey should Ankara seek to buy it. Russia has already said it was willing to enter into an industrial partnership program with foreign nations buying the Su-57.
The US has suspended Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program by stopping sourcing of parts from Turkish companies. In addition, Turkish F-35 pilots have been sent home from training and delivery of two aircraft to Turkey has been put on hold as punishment for Ankara buying Russian S-400 air defense systems.