Russia recently stated that there are around five nations interested to acquire Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jets including nations in South-East Asia.
The Russian jet – Su-57 is the world’s fourth operational fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft after the American duo F-22 and F-35, and the Chinese J-20.
According to reports in the Vietnamese portal Soha, Vietnam wishes to acquire 12-14 Su-57 stealth jets keeping in mind the budget dynamics. The delivery of “affordable” Russian jets is likely to take place between 2030 and 2035.
While China’s J-20 would have an edge over the Russian S–57 in terms of air superiority, the latter “will be completely suitable for the Vietnamese Air Force as it has a powerful radar system, an excellent fire control system”, and much more affordable than the Chinese J-20 fighter aircraft, a report from Soha claimed.
The Su-57 stealth fighter is the first aircraft in the Russian Air Force to be armed with stealth technology, thereby ensuring a low level of radar and infrared signature.
It is capable of taking out different types of air, ground, and naval targets. It is also equipped with superior onboard radio-electronic equipment, including a powerful computer, a radar system, and weapons fixed inside its fuselage.
Capable of developing supersonic cruising speed, the combat aircraft took its maiden flight a decade ago. It was inducted into service in December 2020.
The Su-57 jets’ most exciting weaponry is the hypersonic missiles. The Sukhoi jets have also been successfully tested in combat conditions in Syria and have performed extraordinarily well, according to Russian media reports.
There were also reports that Algeria could emerge as the first international customer of Su-57 aircraft putting an end to the speculations surrounding the purchase of the Russian fighters, but nothing conclusive has come out yet.
The stealth jets have commanded significant attention across Southeast Asia with five nations expressing their interest in the Russian-origin single-seat, twin-engine Su-57 multirole aircraft, General Director of Rosoboronexport Group, Alexander Mikheyev, had stated.
There were also speculations about India’s interest in the export variant of the fighter aircraft- Su-57E. Later, the Indian Air Force chief RK Singh Bhadauria announced in 2019 that India will develop its own AMCA (Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft) that will have fifth-gen capabilities including stealth.
India had earlier withdrawn from the FGFA (Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft) program with Russia, expressing disappointment with the progress of the project from Russia’s end as well the major doubts surrounding the capabilities of the Su-57.
The Sukhoi/HAL FGFA was a fifth-generation fighter concept, aimed at developing an improved variant of Moscow’s most advanced fighter jets – the Sukhoi-57. India felt the need to collaborate with Russia in order to counter the growing arsenal of Pakistan and China.
Written Kanina Sachdeva