Turkey begins talks to purchase advanced Russian fighter jet
Turkey has begun official talks to purchase an advanced Russian fighter jet design long since thought to be on the wish-list of the Near Eastern country’s air force.
According to the TASS news agency, Turkish defense industry officials are in early-stage negotiations with Russia to purchase the Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter aircraft, noted for being a Generation 4.5 design.
The aircraft is the latest production-stage fighter design that Russian military industry has to offer and preliminary export orders have been received from two other countries in the region, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Having also entered service in the Russian military, the aircraft is Russia’s first true single-seat multi-role heavy (as opposed to light, like the MiG-29/35) fighter design and its combat potential has already been demonstrated in the Syrian conflict.
According to Turkey’s Undersecretary for Defense Industries, Ismail Demir, it will likely be purchased as an interim aircraft for the Turkish Air Force until the even more advanced Generation 5 Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter design becomes production-ready and made for export.
The announcement of Turkey’s strong intent to buy the Su-35 comes amid ever increasing fallout between the country and the US-led NATO alliance bloc which seriously disapproves of member states purchasing advanced Russian weapon systems.
The official Turkish procurement of the Russian S-400 system has already led to the United States kicking Turkey out of the F-35 fighter program.
Given that the US is threatening Egypt with sanctions over its order of at least two dozen Su-35 aircraft, the chances of additional American-imposed punishments against Turkey for also wanting the fighter jet (and likely so in significantly greater numbers than Egypt) is quite possible.