Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E Fighter Jet
Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E Fighter Jet

Russia Intent on Delivering Sukhoi Su-35 Fighters to Indonesian Air Force

Russian news agency TASS reported that Russia is poised to supply a batch of Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighters to Indonesia despite the pressure being exerted on this Asian-Pacific country. According to the spokesperson for the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Valeria Reshetnikova, Moscow views Indonesia as one of its key partners in the Asia-Pacific Region. The news on signing the contract with Jakarta for eleven Su-35 fighters broke in early 2018, however its implementation has not yet begun.

In 2014, Russia offered the Su-35 to Indonesia to replace its ageing F-5E Tiger II fleet. The following year, the Indonesian Ministry of Defence selected the Su-35 ahead of the Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale, F-16, and Saab JAS 39 Gripen; the Indonesian Defence Ministry cited the Indonesian Air Force’s familiarity with the Su-27SK and Su-30MK2 as the reason for its selection. In February 2018, Russia and Indonesia finalised an contract for 11 aircraft, worth $1.14 billion. The first delivery was expected in October 2018, but was delayed to 2019.

Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E Fighter Jet

On 12 March 2020, Indonesia canceled the deal due to the US pressure and is instead looking to negotiate an order for F-35s. On 18 March 2020, Indonesia had not revoked the procurement despite facing unnamed “obstacles”. Indonesia could face US retaliation under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). In February 2021, the Chief of Staff of the Indonesian Air Force Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo unveiled plans to purchase new aircraft such as F-15EX and Dassault Rafale while not mentioning the current status of the Su-35 order.

The Sukhoi Su-35 (NATO reporting name: Flanker-E) is a single-seat, twin-engine, supermaneuverable aircraft, designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau and built by the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant. The Su-35’s thrust-vectoring system and integrated flight- and propulsion-control systems allow the aircraft to attain “supermaneuverability”, enabling it to perform post-stall manoeuvres at low speeds. The multi-role Su-35 can deploy air-to-air missiles of up to 300-kilometre (190 mi) range, and can carry the heavy Oniks anti-ship cruise missile, as well as the multitude of air-to-ground weaponry.