Russia is struggling to fund its new Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet, and have only ordered 12 of the jets while the US ramps up its sales and production of the F-35 — a direct competitor. Specifically, the US and India have engaged in some preliminary talks about selling the F-35, when India was initially a key investor in the Su-57 project.
Russia’s Su-57 is still in a theoretical stage with few airframes built and new engines and weapons integration sorely lacking, but the F-35 is ready to sell. Russia recently grabbed a bunch of publicity for its new Su-57 fifth-generation jet by sending a pair of the supposedly stealth fighters to practice dropping bombs in Syria — but it looks like the F-35 could squash the program in its infancy.
Multiple experts recently told Business Insider that Russia’s program to acquire and field the Su-57 desperately needs an infusion of cash from an international investor like India.
Initially, India was a partner in the Su-57 program, and intended to help develop, build, and eventually buy scores of the advanced fighter jet pitched as a rival to the US F-22 and F-35, but those talks soured and Russia never saw the money.
US Air Force
Japan and South Korea are both thinking about buying more F-35s, but most importantly, The Diplomat rounded up several reports indicating that India’s Air Force formally requested a classified briefing on the F-35A, and it may buy up to 126 of the jets.
At around $100 million per airframe, such a purchase would likely leave little room in the budget for India to buy Su-57s, which would require vastly different support infrastructure than the US jet.
“Having been to India and met with their Air Force leadership, while they are a neutral country, their culture is one that fits very well with English speaking nations around the world,” said Deptula, who said the US trying to sell F-35s to India would be “worthwhile.”
If India decided to buy F-35s, or really any Western jet, Russia would have it’s struggling Su-57 and one fewer customer for it. Meanwhile, Russia has only ordered 12 of the Su-57s, not even enough for a full squadron.
So while jet enthusiasts have long debated who would win in a fight between the F-35 and the Su-57, we may never find out.
The US’s F-35 is a real jet — three real jets actually — that has significant money behind it to keep it flying in air forces around the globe for decades to come. Russia’s Su-57 has no such security.
By: Business Insider
Source Link: CLICK HERE