Large training exercise in United Arab Emirates : Australia (equipped with F-18’s), Egypt (equipped with F-16’s), France (equipped with Rafale), Morocco (equipped with F-16’s) and USA ( equipped with KC-10 aerial refueling tanker).
The United Arab Emirates has agreed to purchase a batch of advanced Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E fighters from Russia. As of 2017, the Flanker-E is the most capable operational Russian combat aircraft.
The jets would be a major addition to the UAE’s already formidable fleet of American-made Lockheed Martin F-16E/F Block 60 Fighting Falcons. But troubling for the United States, the deal is an indication that the UAE — a long-time U.S. ally — is drifting into Moscow’s orbit.
“We signed an agreement of intent for the purchase of the Su-35,” Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov told the Moscow-based TASS news agency earlier in February 2017.
Chemezov did not offer any details about how many Su-35s the UAE has ordered or when Sukhoi would begin delivering the aircraft. The two countries also recently signed an agreement to co-develop a new fifth-generation fighter.
War Is Boring
This is not the first time the launch of Russia’s T-50 (PAK FA) fifth generation jet fighter has been postponed. Designers and senior officials at the Russian Defense Ministry originally gave 2016 as the year when the new aircraft would go into service, but now the deadline has been postponed indefinitely.
On Feb. 2, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov said that as long as there were similar aircraft that meet the requirements of the Armed Forces, there is no need to waste money on purchasing expensive new hardware.
“Most likely this will only happen in the next State Armament Program for 2018-2025,” said Borisov, adding that the T-50 still needs to be perfected.
Experts said it’s wrong to say that the T-50 is “bogged down” because developing an aircraft gradually in stages is common practice. “There have been misleading stories in the media, but the project is not bogged down,” said Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the magazine, Arsenal Otechestva. “All stages of work on the aircraft are on schedule.”
The designers are working on a new fifth generation engine, Izdeliye-30 [Product-30], in order for the fighter to meet all the challenges of the new era. Flight tests of the new engine will start at the end of 2017, or in early 2018. “It will take the designers another two or three years to finalize the project before the aircraft goes into series production and into service with the Russian Air Force,” said Murakhovsky.