Russian jet fighters including the Sukhoi Su-57 may not be flying during the Dubai Airshow scheduled to take place from 17-21 November, despite the Middle East being a potential export market with no stealth jets sold to these countries till date.
At Malaysia’s LIMA-2019 Airshow, a senior official at Rostec had revealed plans of showcasing the Su-57E, the export version of Russia’s first stealth jet, at the Dubai event.
“The aircraft could be presented for the first time abroad during the Dubai Air Show in November,” Viktor Kladov, Director for International Cooperation and Regional Policy of Rostec had then said, adding that a final decision on bringing the aircraft to the Dubai show remained to be made.
Moscow expected to fill a demand for stealth fighters in the region, presently dominated by the US. In the Middle East, it does not provide cutting-edge weaponry to Arab countries given its policy of maintaining Israel's technological superiority in military equipment.
By targeting the cash-rich gulf nations first, Russia was hoping to grab the market for stealth jets, expected to be the future of military aviation.
Another jet that Russia planned to sell is the Sukhoi-35. A source in the defense industry told TASS last month that the UAE was eyeing to buy over a squadron of Su-35 fighters, adding that “negotiations between the countries may be held at the Dubai Airshow.” If the talks go smoothly, he said, a contract would be signed by the end of 2019. In addition to Sukhoi-35, the MiG-35 too has potential in the Middle East.
None of the Russian front-line fighter aircraft have been listed as exhibits according to a list of aircraft released by the Dubai Air show organizers. Even the MC-21 passenger airliner which Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) is promoting as a competitor to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 is not coming to Dubai.
Among Russian aviation products only the Mi-38 and ANSAT helicopters will be displayed at the UAE show.
French air force’s Rafale, Pakistani Super Mushshak, Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon and USAF F-16 could be the only fighters to be exhibited at the event, according to the recently updated official list of participating aircraft.
The other aircraft also on the list are USAF Mirage 2000-9, Boeing CH-47F Chinook, Embraer KC-390, Embraer A-29 Super Tucano, Leonardo’s M346 & AW169.
Nevertheless, the Russian aircraft may be available as scale models at the stands as all major Russian firms- Robosoboronexort, Sukhoi, Irkut and UAC are participating.