Turkey close to buying Russian Su-35 fighter jets

Turkey is about to reach a deal with Russia over the purchase of Su-35 fighter jets and jointly producing some components of the jets, pro-government daily Sabah reported on Friday, citing Turkish sources.

Turkish defence officials have been considering alternatives for the country’s air forces after the United States halted the delivery of 100 F-35 stealth fighters to Turkey due to Ankara’s decision to acquire Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems. The Pentagon also suspended Turkey’s participation in the programme to build F-35s over concerns that S-400 systems could access sensitive data on the aircraft’s defence. 

Following a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 27 to Moscow where he examined both Su-35 and Su-57 warplanes at the MAKS 2019 International Aviation and Space Salon, Turkish and Russian officials are discussing the details of the sale of a total of 36 Su-35 fighter jets to Turkey, Sabah said.

Aaron Stein, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington, said Turkey was actually interested in 54 Su-35 jets.

Turkey and Russia are also discussing the joint production of Su-35 jets and other military hardware, according to the daily.