African countries interested in Russia’s Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon” stealth fighter

CEO of Russia’s Rosoboronexport state arms seller Alexander Mikheyev stated at the MAKS 2021 international aerospace show that “Rosoboronexport is currently considering the requests for the fifth-generation Su-57E fighter from five countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Europe.” 

Although the Russian weapons manufacturer declined to name the particular customer, he did say that countries of the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and Europe have shown interest in fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jet.

Alexander Mikheyev explained that the Sukhoi Su-57 attracted great interest from several regions, and that a state contract had been signed for this fighter.

Su-57 is the official designation of the T-50 stealth multirole 5th generation fighter jet, developed under the PAK-FA program (Perspektivny Aviatsionny Kompleks Frontovoy Aviatsii, translated prospective aeronautical complex of front-line air forces), that flew for the first time on January 29, 2010.

The Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name: Felon) is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth multirole fighter developed by Sukhoi for the Russian Aerospace Forces.

For a long time, Russia has been actively seeking to expand the export customer base for their latest tactical aircraft including the new fifth-gen Su-57, and updated versions of their MiG-29 and Su-27 airframes. In Africa, Egypt, Angola, and Algeria have been potential customers for these Russian aircraft.

Just last year, the Algerian Air Force began taking delivery of its first Russian-made MiG-29M/M2 multirole combat aircrafts in a deal which is expected to increase the size of the country’s combat fleet and replace legacy systems operated by the 193rd fighter squadron.

Algeria ordered 14 MiG-29M/M2 jets at the MAKS 2019 air show, comprising of new single seat MiG-29M and dual seat MiG-29M2.

The contract will see Algeria acquire additional 16 Su-30MKA and 14 MiG-29M/M2 fighters from Russia in a contract worth nearly $2 billion excluding weapons and training. The MiG-29M is the most capable variant of its class, and is also operated by the Egyptian Air Force.

In 2019, unofficial reports of Algeria has allegedly “signed a contract to purchase 14 of Russia’s newest Sukhoi Su-57 multi-role 5th generation fighter aircraft” started making the round. 

The reported Su-57 sale was said to part of a “package” including an additional 14 Sukhoi Su-34 and 14 Sukhoi Su-35s to Algeria. Apparently, the story seems to be entirely false.

Discussions with Algeria for the sale of the SU-57 might have occurred, however, this does not imply a contract has already been signed.

On the other hand, Egypt has taken delivery of all its MiG-29M/M2 fighter jets it ordered from Russia and has started receiving its two dozen Su-35 fighters.

Five Su-35s were delivered to Egypt in 2020, from an order of 24 Su-35S fighters signed in 2018/19, with delivery to be completed by 2023.

Twelve Egyptian Air Force (EAF) Su-35s have been spotted in satellite imagery outside the Komsomolks-on-Amur plant ahead of delivery.

Egypt signed a $2 billion deal for the supply of around two dozen Russian Sukhoi Su-35 aircraft in March 2018, despite the threat of US sanctions, straining relations between Cairo and Washington. Thus, making it the second country after China to acquire the Su-35, the most advanced 4th generation jets in Russian inventory.

Meanwhile, Angola recently received all of it’s twelve Sukhoi SU-30K Flanker fighter jet ordered in October 2013, after they had undergone upgrade by Belarus’ 558th Aviation Repair Plant in conjunction with Russia’s Rosoboronexport.

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