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