President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was showcased Russia’s fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jet at the MAKS 2019 International Aviation and Space Salon in the Moscow region on Tuesday.
President Vladimir Putin showed off Russia’s latest stealth warplane to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s been barred from buying a new U.S. f-35 fighter jet in a dispute with Donald Trump over the purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system.
Flanked by the Russian and Turkish defense ministers, Putin and Erdogan inspected the cockpit of the fifth-generation Su-57 fighter on Tuesday at opening of the MAKS-2019 international air show outside Moscow. They also toured the Su-35 fighter, helicopter displays and an amphibious aircraft.
— Hakan Celik (@hakanchelik) August 27, 2019
Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov had said that the Su-57 and the Su-35 will be showcased to the Turkish president during the event, according to remarks carried by Russian news agency Interfax. According to the Russian official, prospects of the fighter sales to Turkey depend on the show.
Welcoming his “good friend” Erdogan to the air display, Putin pitched the “technical capabilities of the latest generation of the Russian Air Forces,” which he said “will open up new opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation,” according to a Kremlin transcript.
When Erdogan inquired during the tour whether the Su-57 is already available to buy, a smiling Putin replied “You can buy,” the Interfax news service reported.
— Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) August 27, 2019
Russia’s most advanced fighter, which has undergone testing in Syria, is a direct competitor to the multi-role F-35 jet
The two leaders also toured an MC-21-300 narrow-body twin-engine jet passenger aircraft, which carried its maiden flight in May 2017. Developed by the Yakovlev Design Bureau and produced by its parent Irkut, a branch of the government-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the aircraft comes with a price tag of approximately $90 million and expected to be delivered to airlines starting from 2020.
Erdogan’s visit follows the U.S. decision last month to suspend Turkey’s ability to buy and help build the advanced F-35 stealth warplane in retaliation for defying Trump and taking delivery of a Russian S-400 air-defense system. The U.S. says the S-400 purchase is incompatible with Turkey’s role in NATO and the F-35 program because it may allow Russia to glean information about the fighter’s advanced technology.
Turkey had planned to buy about 100 F-35s and will have to seek alternatives if the U.S. maintains the ban. After a crisis in relations when Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane near the Syrian border in 2015, Putin and Erdogan have strengthened economic and military ties in recent years as relations between Turkey and its NATO ally have strained.