Russia claimed that several countries dislike Indonesia's plan to buy Russian SU-35 fighter jets, dubbed one of Russia's most superior flankers so far. Deputy Ambassador of Russia to Indonesia Oleg Kopylov revealed that those countries have even tried to threaten Indonesia not to buy those jets. Even though the diplomat did not specifically mention which countries, many believe that his statement refers to the US, which always tries to impose sanctions on any country purchasing Russian arms.
In a press conference on Wednesday (December 18), Kopylov told journalists that Indonesia is still committed to continuing the purchasing contract with Russia, praising Jakarta for not being intimidated. Some resources familiar with this matter said that those flankers are expected to arrive in Indonesia in 2019. However, there has been no assurance from Jakarta whether it will continue the cooperation.
Indonesia's military maintains a good relationship with Russian and American armies. They have planned to buy 11 Sukhoi jets for the last two years and signed the purchasing contract in February 2018. At the end of November, Indonesia's Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto said his office would review the Sukhoi purchase, based on benefits and budget efficiency perspective.
Sukhoi SU-35: What You Need To Know
The Sukhoi Su-35 (or NATO calls Flanker-E) is a multirole, heavy-class, single-seated fighter jet produced by Russian air manufacturer Sukhoi. This aircraft is the improved version of the Su-27, once named the Su-27M.
The Su-35 design is similar to that of the Su-27. However, the former is equipped with a canard and a more powerful engine, as well as the latest digital fly-by-wire system. Also, the SU-35 has other features such as infrared detector, The Russian Air Force has operated 12 Su-35 jets since 2008, as per reports.
Buyers of the Su-35s
China, Pakistan, and Brazil are among the countries interested in buying the Russian fighter aircraft, as Nationalinterest reported. Turkey is also planning to buy Su-35s, and both Ankara and Moscow officials were in "advanced talks" to finalize the purchasing deal of the Su-35 jets, despite being axed from the US F-35s partnership.
The talks have quite matured. A deal does not appear to be too distant," a senior Turkish procurement official told BusinessInsider.
The US vs Russia competition in the defence industry
The Cold War may end, but the rivalry between the US and Russia (formerly known as the Soviet Union) shows no sign of ending. US and Russia are the world's leading arms exporters. The SIPRI ( Stockholm International Peace Research Institute showed that American arms manufacturers dominated the world's top five rankings; Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and General Dynamics, accounting for 35 percent of global arms export in 2018.
Russia's effort to upgrade its weaponry continues to worry the US, given Washington's decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 consortium following Ankara's purchase of Russia's latest anti-missile defence system S-400. Russia saw the opportunity by offering its Su-35s.
Russia will not push Indonesia
Russia understands how fierce competition in the arms industry with the US has pushed the latter to impose sanctions on any country purchasing Russia-made arms.
"Like Turkey buying our S-400s, then what's happened with India and China, the US is trying to prevent our partner from cooperating with us, especially in the military sector," Kopylov said as CNNIndonesia wrote, understanding that the US is the world's largest arms producer. Moscow said it would not dictate Indonesia regarding the Su-35 decision, saying that the ball is in Indonesia's hand.