Algeria is close to buying a dozen Russian Su-57 stealth fighters

Algeria buy Sukhoi Su-57
Russian Su-57 fighter jets during MAKS-2019 airshow. (Image: Sputnik/Vladimir Astapkovich).

Algeria is finalizing a contract with Russia to procure 14 new fifth-generation Su-57 fighters, becoming the first international customer for the Sukhoi stealth aircraft. The news was posted by the Algerian media Mena Defense on December 27.

Russia recently developed the E variant of the Su-57 for the international market, which was introduced this year at MAKS, the biennial international aerospace exhibition held at Moscow's Zhukovsky airport.

According to Mena Defense, Algiers is negotiating a huge order, it includes 14 Su-57 jets as well as 14 Su-34 fighter-bombers and 14 new Su-35S fighters, with an option to purchase an additional 14 aircraft for each type. The order is expected to be completed by 2025.

The Algerian Air Force has a strong need to modernize its fleet which is currently composed of a large mix of aircraft from different generations. It includes 13 Mig-25s, 32 Mig-29s, almost all in the first version, 58 Su-30MKAs and 22 Su-24s, also of the first type.

The recent purchase by Morocco of 25 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters in the latest Viper variant and the entry into service of the F-35 with the Italian Air Force has definitively convinced the Algiers government to speed up the purchase of the Su-57. Algeria considers Italy as the main contender for the control of the Mediterranean area, especially on the Libyan side.

The Algerian contract will give new life to the fifth-generation Sukhoi program. Russia has tried unsuccessfully to place the aircraft in China, Iran, Turkey and Pakistan, but development delays appear to discourage potential buyers.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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