Russia has signed a $2 billion contract for the supply of more than 20 Su-35 fighter jets to Egypt, the Kommersant news daily reported on Monday, citing two senior defense industry officials.
The supply contract is set to maintain a full capacity output at Russia’s largest aircraft-manufacturing plant in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far East for several years to come, one of the sources said.
The contract was signed at the end of 2018 and delivery of the aircraft, as well as weapons for the planes, will begin as early as 2020-21, Kommersant reported.
Russia has become one of Egypt’s largest arms suppliers as Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has developed friendly ties with President Vladimir Putin. The reported arms deal comes amid growing U.S. pressure on countries worldwide not to buy Russian-produced arms.
The Su-35 is a multi-purpose fighter jet, designed by Sukhoi on the basis of the legendary Su-27 twin-engine supermaneuverable fighter aircraft. The first prototypes of the Su-35 were rolled out in 2007 and production began in 2009. The jet is followed by the fifth-generation PAK-FA stealth fighter.
With 12 to 14 weapons hard points, the Sukhoi Su-35 is able to use K-77M radar-guided missiles that reportedly have a range of almost 200km. The jet is also armed with a 30mm cannon with 150 rounds for strafing or dogfighting. The Su-35 can reportedly carry up to 8,000kg of air-to-ground munitions.
The Sukhoi Su-35 is currently deployed with the Russian Air Force. More than 20 jets of its variant, dubbed Su-35SK, were purchased by the Chinese military. The first four aircraft were delivered in 2016, followed by 10 in 2017, and the final 10 last year.
In February 2018, Russia and Indonesia reached a purchase deal for 11 aircraft worth $1.14 billion with the first delivery reportedly implemented in October 2018.
Following the successful deployment of the Su-35 in Syria, a number of countries expressed interest in the aircraft. The United Arab Emirates, India, Algeria, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Pakistan and Sudan are reportedly among the potential buyers of the jet fighter.
In August 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which aims to punish Russia for actions that include alleged election interference. Under the legislation, countries trading with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors can face secondary sanctions.
In September of last year, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on the Chinese military for buying 10 Su-35 aircraft from Russia.
Russian officials estimate that the country has lost around 50 billion rubles ($760 million) in potential gun and ammunition sales since international sanctions sealed off the U.S. market in 2014.