The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has discussed buying Su-35 'Flanker-E' fighter aircraft from Russia in potentially the largest defence deal between the two countries, but a final decision is yet to be made, a senior Pakistani government official has confirmed to IHS Jane's .
The official was responding to Russian media reports that Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had said talks were underway for an unspecified number of Su-35s, which follow a recent agreement to provide Mi-35M 'Hind E' attack helicopters to Islamabad.
While the official said "it's too early to say if a deal will conclude and the terms", the fact that discussions have taken place shows Russia's willingness to sell advanced hardware with Pakistan despite Moscow's longstanding ties with India.
The official said Pakistan's interest in the Su-35 was driven by the PAF's need for a twin-engine fighter "that can fly for a longer range than the JF-17 and penetrate more deeply into the enemy's territory". The PAF flies a mixed fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s, Dassault Mirage-5s, Chinese-manufactured F-7s, and the JF-17 Thunder, which is jointly produced by China and Pakistan.
In November 2014 a senior Pakistani official told IHS Jane's that Pakistan was in discussions with China to buy 30 to 40 FC-31s - the export version of China's J-31 fifth-generation platform. At the time, the official told IHS Jane's that Pakistan was interested in the platform partly because it was fitted with two RD-93 Russian Klimov engines, which also powers the JF-17. PAF officials have also told IHS Jane's in the past that they have considered the purchase of up to 40 Chengdu J-10 fighters.
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