MOSCOW - Russia 's newest ally Turkey on Tuesday got a first-hand experience of the 5th Generation supersonic stealth combat aircraft Sukhoi Su-57E, the export version of the jet, at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2019 at Zhukovsky International Airport, near Moscow. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had a close look at the Su-57E accompanied by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov on the opening day of MAKS-2019.
Turkey has been eyeing the Sukhoi Su-57 link after the United States of America threw it out of the 5th Generation stealth fighter F-35 Lightning II programme over its decision to go ahead with Russian S-400 Triumf anti-air defence system. Russia , too, is exploring the opportunity to export the Su-57 which has been combat-tested during in Syria in early 2018 and is in the process of joining its Aerospace Force. A few days before MAKS-2019, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov had told Interfax news agency that Erdogan will be shown the Su-57 and Su-35 fighters.
Turkey's pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak had in early June 2019 reported that the country was weighing the option of acquiring the Su-57 and China's Shenyang J-31 fifth-generation fighters if the USA decided to not go ahead with the deal to sell 100 F-35s to it. There is a strong possibility that since the USA has already carried out its threat and removed Turkey from the F-35 programme and refused to deliver the jets which it (Turkey) had already paid for, the European nation may go in for a fighter built by some other country.
The Yeni Safak report also mentioned that Turkey has planned to speed up the development of an indigenous fighter, negotiate with Russia for getting the design of Su-57 and includes talks with China for buying the J-31 jet as both the aircraft are much cheaper than the $100 million F-35. Even Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had in April 2019 announced that his country would buy advanced fighters from "another place" if the USA refused to sell the F-35.
Russia S-400 Triumf, an extremely advanced anti-air defence system, has been a thorn in USA's flesh with the latter warning Turkey that the missiles and radars would be able to map F-35's stealth profile and expose its vulnerabilities. Russia has already delivered the first batch of S-400 system to Turkey in July and is in the process of supplying the second batch of missiles.