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LIMA 2019: Russia set to clear Sukhoi Su-57 for export

28 March 2019
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Russia’s Su-57 fifth-generation fighter aircraft has been given clearance for export. Source: Sukhoi

The Russian government is set to grant authorisation for the export of the Sukhoi Su-57 PAK FA fifth-generation fighter aircraft, a senior Russian defence industry official has revealed.

Viktor Kladov, the director for international co-operation and regional policy at Russia's Rostec defence industrial holding company, said the version of the aircraft promoted to international customers will be named Su-57E (Export).

He added that he expects the aircraft to be a competitive bidder for programmes in the Middle East and some parts of Asia Pacific.

Speaking at a media briefing at the 2019 LIMA exhibition in Langkawi, Kladov said that "all the necessary documentation" to support the approval of exports of the Su-57E has been submitted to the Russian government by UAC and its parent company, Rostec. Final export approval is expected to be provided by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a few weeks.

According to Kladov the Su-57E could be officially unveiled at the Dubai Air Show in November 2019, and this unveiling would reflect the target export market of the Su-57E. "We believe that the Middle East is an attractive market for this aircraft," said Kladov.

In Asia Pacific, countries likely to be interested in the Su-57E include China and India. "China has recently taken delivery of 24 Su-35 aircraft," said Kladov, "and in the next two years [China] will make a decision to either procure additional Su-35s, build the Su-35 within China, or to buy a fifth-generation fighter aircraft. This could be another opportunity for the Su-57E."

In marketing the aircraft for export, Kladov said customers are unlikely to be dissuaded by the US Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). This legislation, introduced in August 2017, proposed sanctions on Russia's defence customers in response to Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election and the annexation of Crimea.

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