Truth or rumors – Algeria ‘buys’ 14 Su-57 fighter jets, Russian sources say
MOSCOW, (BM) – Since the end of last year, the Russian media [we have also announced this] claims that one of the first countries to buy Russian Su-57 fighters is Algeria. BulgarianMilitary.com reviewed Russian information sources again in the last 24 hours and found a lot of talk in Russia about ordering 14 Su-57 fighter jets. The central claim is that there is a “leak” of information from sources in the Russian Ministry of Defense, who say that Algeria has already “reserved” the first export units.
Of course, this news comes against the background of the information that Russia is preparing an export version of the Su-57 – Su-57E, which statement is correct. There is no official confirmation, neither from Russia nor from Algeria, that such a deal has been agreed. According to reliable sources, Algeria will pay $ 2 billion in contracts and receive fighter jets by 2030.
However, there are many “gaps” in the information from a “reliable source.” They are rooted in three indicators – production, price, and political situation.
It is not yet clear what Russia’s production capacity is for this fighter. We remind you that Moscow began mass production of the first Su-57 aircraft in the middle of this year. According to official information from the Russian Ministry of Defense, the first mass-produced Su-57 expects to be ready by the end of 2020. The Russian Ministry has also confirmed that the Air Force will accept it for service in the Western Military District. However, Russia has ordered 76 units for its needs, and it is assuming that it will be engaged in its production in the next two to three years. The question remains unclear about the plant’s actual production capacity and whether it will be able to produce the units needed by the Russian army on time.
The second indicator is the price. $ 2 billion is a price we can hardly imagine Algeria paying. The state has these funds, but the market is a little different at the moment. The Russian version of the Su-57 costs approximately $ 35 million. For 14 Su-57s, that’s half a billion, not two billion dollars. Experts say the export version would cost roughly $ 150 million. Yes, but currently, the export version of the American fifth-generation F-35 fighter is reduced to 107 million dollars. Algeria does not benefit from paying more for a fighter jet that is not even a fifth-generation [because of Russian avionics – ed.]. The Su-57 is more of a 4 ++ generation than a fifth generation.
But the price can mean anything. For example, two billion dollars could be a package of a Su-57 fighter and other Russian fighters. The Russian fighter of generation 4 ++ – Su-35 is the best Russian fighter at the moment [Su-35 can easily face the F-35 and F-22 – ed.] Why Algeria to buy a plane, which is not yet clear what indicators it will show. The Su-35 is proven and commands respect among Americans. They even claim that this is the best at the moment.
The third indicator is the political situation and the relations between the two countries. In reality, this indicator may even be crucial and confirm the purchase of Algeria. The African country traditionally buys Russian weapons. Algeria has a MiG-29, MiG-25, and Su-24 in its fleet. The Algerians desire to renew the park. It assumes that they have a severe interest in the Su-34 and Su-35. Algeria has already placed an order for 16 Su-30s and 14 units of the light version of the MiG-29. In such a “glass situation,” it may turn out that Algeria has indeed “kept” 14 of the Su-57, mainly because when the Russian production of the Su-57 is completed, the African country will be first in line.
Algeria’s current armaments could have a significant impact on “confirming rumors” of buying a Su-57. Algeria has Russian S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems, Pantsir-C1 mobile anti-aircraft missile systems, and Russian T-90 tanks. All Algerian artillery is equipped with Russian weapons. At the same time, the United States seems to be deliberately “pushing” the Russian Su-57 into the Algerians’ hands. Washington is ready to enormously assist Morocco in arming itself against Algeria, which has had its conflicts and military differences over the decades, even though they are “frozen” at the moment. The United States expects to sell Morocco an F-16 Fighting Falcon, which Polish experts say could be the main enemy of the Su-57. However, this Poles statement is quite exaggerated, as it is challenging to imagine the F-16 to take control in a battle with the Su-57. Therefore, only the F-35 remains to be sent to Morocco. But whether the United States intends to do so is unknown.
So far, the sale of 14 Su-57s to Algeria is just a rumor among Moscow’s military circles. Russian media like to exaggerate. But at some point, this rumor may be right. And then the question remains – 2030 will be the year in which the first foreign country received its whole batch of Su-57s? Will it be Algeria?
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