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Yury Laskin
The Gagarin Aviation plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk Krai, has started the assembly of Su-35 fighters for Egypt, following recent reports about the deal for the supply of around two dozen fighters (figures vary from 24 to 26) and ammunition for them, which was signed on 19th March 2018. The deal’s value is estimated at US$2bn with the first plane to be delivered by the end of this year and the entire contract to be fulfilled by 2023. The Su-35 is a heavy 4 ++ generation fighter designed to gain air supremacy and is widely regarded as one of the most powerful military aircraft in the world. It possesses a good thrust-weight ratio, supermaneuverability, a powerful radar and electronic suppression, making the fighter a serious opponent to any rival, including the US-made aircraft of the Israeli Air Force. The Egyptian Air Force will become the Su-35’s second international user after China, which operates 24 aircraft under a 2015 deal with Rosoboronexport where they were delivered by November 2018 and the Russian Air and Space Forces (VKS), who have 90 Su-35s which were tested successfully during anti-terrorist operations in Syria.

Geo-politics

In 2019, after information about a fighter deal between Egypt and Russia was leaked, the US threatened Cairo with sanctions similar to those imposed on Turkey, due to the acquisition of Russian military equipment. According to American media, a joint letter from the Pentagon and the US State Department with threats came to the country’s defence minister, but in Egypt they called it “meddling in internal affairs” and stated that they were not going to give up Russian weapons. This is in contrast to Indonesia, where according to the Bloomberg agency, the South-East Asian nation dropped the deal for 11 Su-35s due to the US threats on sanctions, something that has been labelled as “unfair competition” by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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