In the matter of the Su-35 fighter jet purchase from Russia, Egypt's military seeks to acquire equipment equal to that owned by Israel, according to the former head of the Egyptian army's reconnaissance department and professor of strategic studies at the Nasser Higher Military Academy.
"Why doesn’t the U.S. supply Egypt with the F-35 fighters that it supplied Israel with, since it is objecting to the Russian Su-35 fighters deal?” Maj. Gen. Nasr Salem was quoted by Cairo daily Al-Monitor.
Russian newspaper Kommersant first reported the Su-35 contract in March 2019; that Cairo had ordered 24 aircraft jets at a price of around $2 billion. Under the delivery schedule cited in that report, the aircraft were to begin arriving in Egypt in 2020 or 2021. There is no confirmation from the Russian side regarding the price or number of planes.
"The Sukhoi fighters are a major addition to the Egyptian Air Force in light of the present threats to the region," Maj. Gen. Hamdi Bakhit, a member of the parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee, told Al-Monitor.
"Egypt’s national security is above anything else. If that requires that Egypt acquires the Su-35 fighters, then it should, and is free to decide on the matter. The U.S. has given Israel the newest pieces of its arsenal, which are the F-35 fighters. Thus, the U.S. is using double standards with Egypt when threatening sanctions," Bakhit said.
He further stated that Su-35s are highly maneuverable and multi-role fighters that can attack remote ground and air targets, especially heavy concrete targets such as fortifications and runways.
Unconfirmed reports on social media last week claimed that five Su-35S jets meant for Egypt were spotted undergoing flight tests in the Russian city of Novosibirsk. Other rreports said the aircraft have since arrived in Cairo.
The United States has threatend to slap sanctions against Egypt for buying Russian equipment. "As a beneficiary of US military aid, Egypt will face US sanctions if it buys Russian equipment," a Pentagon official was quoted as saying last month.
The Su-35S jets are powered by two TRDDF 117S engines developed by NPO Saturn. The 117S is a development of the AL-31F engine installed on Su-27 aircraft and is distinguished by an increased afterburner (from 12,500 kgf to 14,500 kgf) and non-afterburner (from 7700 to 8800 kgf) thrust, according to Sukhoi Company information.