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Russian media reports suggest Pakistani interest in the Su-35 is genuine
May 22, 2017
Su-35. Photo credit: United Aircraft Corporation

Russian media reports suggest Pakistani interest in the Su-35 is genuine

Several recent news reports from Russian media outlets indicate that Pakistani interest in the Sukhoi Su-35 multi-role fighter is genuine.

The Pakistani officials quoted were present at Army 2016, an international military and technical forum devoted to showcase defence industry projects from within and outside of Russia.

Speaking to Sputnik News, the deputy director of the Defence Export Promotion Organization (DEPO) Qadir Khan said, “Pakistan is involved in negotiations with Russia on a deal for Su-35 and Su-37. We are in initial stage now.” (Note: The Su-37 is a demonstrator program and it is not available on the market).

Interestingly, the Pakistan Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP)’s Directorate General of Defence Purchases (DGDP), which is responsible for managing the assessment and procurement of arms for the armed forces (from domestic and foreign sources), also sent a delegation to attend Army 2016.

The delegation was led by the Director General of DGDP – Major General Naveed Ahmed.

According to Sputnik News’ Spanish portal, Maj. Gen Ahmed responded to inquiries about the Su-35 by stating that the option was being considered. He reportedly added that Pakistan is waiting for Russia to open negotiations.

Maj. Gen Ahmed also expressed hope that an agreement regarding the RD-93 turbofan (for the JF-17) will also be finalized in the near-term. Pakistan had already secured Russia’s agreement to directly supply the RD-93, so it is unclear if the statement was made in reference to buying additional engines or in other areas, such as establishing a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility for the RD-93 in Pakistan, which Pakistan had been seeking since November 2015.

In another Sputnik News article, Maj. Gen Ahmed was quoted saying:

“Our army services are [showing] keen interest in different Russian products. We are looking for the air platform, for any sorts of helicopters; for the army, we are looking for tanks, we are looking for anti-tanks weapon system and more importantly we are looking for the air defense system.”

Notes, Comments & Analysis:

If accurate, Major General Ahmed’s statements would indicate that Pakistan is indeed interested in the Su-35. While there have been numerous reports about Pakistani interest in the fighter, this would be the first direct and verifiable statement from a Pakistani official regarding the issue.

This is significant as the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) itself has only set the JF-17, F-16 and next-generation fighter on its modernization roadmap. The Director General of DGDP’s statement would suggest that another fighter could potentially be added and that the Su-35 is an option.

Interestingly, Maj. Gen Ahmed also reportedly added that a proposal of some kind was made to Russia, noting that the step of initiating negotiations would be up to Moscow. While the PAF itself has not voiced intent for procuring a new fighter type, the fact that this information would come from the DGDP is appropriate as it is sanctioned to manage procurement and acquisition issues.

Whether Russia opts to entertain Pakistan’s interest in the Su-35 is another matter entirely. However, the truly important point at this stage is the possibility that the PAF is indeed seeking another fighter platform – i.e. another short or medium-term addition joining the JF-17 and F-16. The requirement does not emerge to cater to the platform; rather, the platform is sought to fulfill a requirement.

On this basis, it will be worth observing if the PAF will study other fighter options, especially considering the reality that the Su-35 is a twin-engine fighter with considerable payload and range.

In regards to Russia itself. It appears that Pakistan is at the stage where it can generally examine and pursue Russian arms. In other words, exceptional clauses or exemptions would not be required in order to clear sales to Islamabad. However, certain political and strategic issues, such as its ties with Delhi, will prompt Moscow to be careful in terms of what it approves for sale, which is why the notion of the Su-35 is still far from a sure bet for Pakistan.

  • Janaan

    Time to shelf F-16………………. or perhaps auction on e-Bay !

    • Shershahsuri

      Not yet Janaana . Upgrades perform miracles. It can make 30 years old F-16 MLU equal to new block 52 CD and a V-Upgrade can make it equal to new F-16 Viper which can make it front line air craft for the next 15 years.

  • SP

    India has PAK FA in the pipeline and the US may sell it F35. So Pakistan buying SU35 will not tilt the balance of power but will infact make the region more peaceful and stable. India is playing both the US and Russia, and both countries will need to keep relations with Pakistan as a counterbalance against India tilting in the other camp. US interest is only helping India get to a certain stage beyond that India would become a competitor to the US so US interest in India is temporary although it could last for a few decades. Pakistan needs to stop being used as toilet paper by the US and improve relations with Russian which is a more reliable ally and could provide Pakistan access to much needed platforms and help Pakistan acquire self sufficiency. US platforms are beyond the reach of Pakistan and friendship prices are not available anymore. Self succiency is the only option in.the long term along with getting advanced technology from strategic allies which the US is not although it does still maintain a huge footprint in Islamabad which gives it influence among the top tiers of the military, bureaucracy and politics.

    • MT

      Pak Fa will be delivered 2025 or later. Pakistan wants to buy Su35 but it depends upon what Russians wants

      Well Pakistan is not on par with India on economy, education, industry, military or technology- – Infact, pakistan is losing differential every year & the gap between Pak, india is widening.

      The only area where Pakistan have edge over india is in producing fission bombs–

      So why should world bother help Pakistan provide with free/subsidized weapons.

      India pays hard cash to buy so what is stopping pak Pay its own money buy F16

      1. US has its own interests & India have its own interests.. They will both extract benefits for their needs from common partnership

      2. I doubt if US needs Pak to contain India– The old policy has failed endlessly.
      Its only china which use Pakistan to keep India entangled in region!

      There are no takers for providing incentive to pakistan as we have seen from failed policy of US with 35 bill$ military,civilian aid to Pakistan which were not being able to turn pakistan into normal country. Pak is not ready to give up proxies and live at ease in region

      3. Russia is no more world power. it will weigh pros & cons for selling Su35 to Pakistan which is the most superior Russian aircraft given Pak-Fa is delayed up to 2020-2022

      India will definitely not take Russians selling Su35 to Pakistan very lightly. Russia needs India more than India needs Russia.
      a.Russian need growing indian economy which is marching up to top 3 economy from currently 7th position in next 7 yrs. On the contrary, Pak economy & Budget is 9 to 15 times smaller than India

      b. India pays hard cash to buy russian weaponry while Pak cant expect russian to loan Su35 on EMI

      4. Russians dont have capacity to expand in south asia, East asia, Pacific. Russia is dying superpower with constrained economy, oil recession & big budgetary constraints.

      They dont want foothold in Islamabad as Pakistan continual strategy to play with jihaids hurt Russian interest in afghanistan,central asia

      I am not sure what can Pakistan offer to russia?? We are not lving in 80 era when Soviet may have wanted control of Afghanistan, Pakistan

      • SP

        Pakistan was economically ahead of India until about 2003 and it is only due to US wars and resulting internal instability that India has overtaken Pakistan economically. However there is no a huge difference between the countries and Pakistan can with increased electricity generation add an extra 2% to its GDP growth and even catch up with India. While a large part of Indian power is generated by coal Pakistan has not even touched its huge coal reserves.
        China should help Pakistan as it is playing an important role in bringing peace to the region and containing Indian hegemonic designs. Russia should support Pakistan as Pakistan will help contain US influence in the region.
        Russia may not be a world superpower but it is still a formidable power that is resurgent and it will have to work with other countries to contain a belligerent US seeking to create trouble in its backyard.
        India needs Russia more than Russia needs India. Russia can well live without Indian rupees. Pakistan and access to the warm Indian Ocean is more important to Russia and China than India. Russia does not need to provide an aircraft to Pakistan but perhaps just a Russian engine on Chinese aircraft will do
        India is an artificial country and is ready to self destruct. Kashmir and Khalistan have more affinity to Islamabad than Delhi. Greater Pakistan can mop up much of India.
        A mistress cannot have two masters and India opening up to the US has provided strategic opportunities to Pakistan to seek rapprochement with Russia.

        • MT

          pak has availed western aid & freebies in past to show good economy.
          but those good yrs were just in result of free American military civilian aid.

          With usa freebies getting away;chinese 20-30%profit in cpec with 4%debt on loans ll hurt pakistan.

          pakistan energy built by chinese in cpec ll be 2-3 times costlier than indian power plants. so hope those costly power don’t hurt your industry

          russia Is failing country so they r not in position to choose unstable feeble pakistan over india

          why would russia wnt accesz to Arabian sea??

          give me 1 reason
          u r just trolling. why would anyone have affinity with most isolated regime in asia.

          india is 5000yr old civilisation while pak is 70yr old confused state. plz don’t behave like zahil hamid

          • SP

            You keep harking about US support to Pakistan, but if the US had paid India 10 times as much still India would have able to give 1% of the support that Pakistan gave the US. Pakistan also paid a heavy price for its support of the US which outweighed the benefit it received.

            Indian economy is 20% stronger than Pakistan. However much of Pakistans evonomy is undocumented and with the boost in power generation in the next few years Pakistani economy would be on par with India. To put things in perspective Indian economy is only 10% of the economy of China or Russia.

            Pakistan is as old a civilisation as India. India has never existed in its present form and is an amalgamation of many kingdoms under the British imperial empire.

        • Quraishi

          It was due to the dictator.
          Thank you,

          • SP

            The seeds were planted by the political instability in the 1990’s caused by the Establishment playing NS and BB against each other and watching the show oblivious to the greater damage that was being caused to the nation.

      • rtnguy

        I disagree. How can anyone say that pak is producing more fission bombs compared to India. Any estimate of Indian Arsenal is guesswork

  • Shershahsuri

    Su-35 deal can materialize if Pakistan has 5b $ in cash.

    • Navid Butt

      Russians are a mature and politically shrewd people, they will not be held to ransom by the Indians anymore.Their political and defence strategy is to have Turkey, Iran and Pakistan altogether in their sphere of influence. Selling weapons for money will not be their first priority.

  • Mohsin E.

    The value of the Flanker is in its loiter time and ability to carry a large amount of BVR missiles. This platform would considerably increase the tactical options available to the PAF. I suspect that as a limited numbers platform, the Flanker won’t be doing any actual ‘flanking’ (ironically), that role will be given to the Thunders/Vipers, while the Flanker will be kept at a stand-off range, flying at high altitude to give maximum range to its BVRs.

    Here’s one possible scenario: With the Flanker detected, the enemy will be forced to focus on it as a primary threat. A group of Su-35’s can then fire the first shots from a stand-off distance, and then turn around and bugout (like a typical interceptor.) During this time, Thunders and Vipers would be scrambled, and those already in the airspace will be redirected, towards the flanks of the incoming enemy elements. While the enemy element deals with the Flanker’s BVRs, the Flanker would turn away and speed off to a safe distance. The enemy will have lost a lot of energy and BVR shots with nothing gained, and now they will have to deal with fresh Thunders/Vipers closing in at high speed, flanking them. Combine all of this with medium/long range SAMs (by positioning the Flankers in areas where the enemy element will have to cross into SAM covered territory) and you have a highly lethal airspace for enemy fighters. So the Flanker will find and fix the enemy elements, while the Thunders/Vipers would do the actual flanking.

    … The Indian government will apply all the pressure it can on Russia to block this deal from going through, the chances are that it will probably succeed. The Flanker in the PAF’s arsenal is too dangerous for the IAF as well as the potential for other advanced Russian tech landing in Pakistan in the future… If it actually ends up going through, it will signal a seismic shift in geopolitics, and a herald for a US-India alliance, and the fracturing of the Russia-Indian block. It’s not completely outside the cards though, with Turkey also moving closer to Russia, and US seriously courting India to counter China, and China and Russia moving ever closer…. The winds are changing…. Let’s see what happens. No one is making any major moves for now…

  • Mazhar

    Pakistan Govt and Armed Forces of Pakistan should set up a FUND and give a call to all overseas Pakistanis to send money into this fund to purchase SU-35/37. I can assure you that we will all respond to it vigorously.This move can collect enough money to establish a few SU squadrons for Pak Air Force and Pak Navy. Forget about the weak economy, give us a call like this and then see.

    • Syed Bushra

      Relax.

      If the Pakistan Armed Forces are interested in it, they have the funds. You can start by paying your taxes.

      • Mazhar

        Don’t worry about my taxes, sis, they are up to date.

    • Quraishi

      Y r overseas Pakistanis your work donkeys or something,
      And it’s your perception that this su 35 is so critical, not everyone may agree to it.
      Second what’s the point of such charity when the government and different institutions are stealing billions.
      Overseas pakistanis got nothing in pakistan so they left and are not vandalizing the country, why don’t those who are living there and vandalizing the country chip in first.
      Which such emotional thinking your going no where.
      As I have said lots of time in the past, without advance and modern politics and economics the country cannot sustain advances in military.

      • nob hamid gul

        America has all the advance wepaonry but did not able to win in Afghanistan.
        It’s not all about weaponry. It’s about emotion. Without emotions you cant even defend yourself. Whatever he is saying reflect his love for nation.
        And more than economic policies its the government and judiciary that has to be reform and mote than that the people need moral reform.
        Just see how erdogan changes the people of the country that banned the Adhan and salah.

        Let people say what they think. Don’t blast like their daddy.

        • Quraishi

          Apart from your information being inaccurate, the very problem of pakistan is decisions based on emotions.
          If it’s not about weaponry then don’t come here, let’s stop all weapons programs.
          Love for nation requires one to be smart, if one indulges into being dumb I’m not sure how is that love for nation. Love for nation requires treating it’s people with respect and love, not seeing them as work donkeys. I feel what I’m saying is true love, that includes rationality with emotions.
          And to correct you with emotions you achieve nothing, unless it’s paired with knowledge and intelligence.
          Sole emotions will only destroy u.
          Economic reforms comes from the government :s so me saying economic reforms includes governmental reforms.

          More then pakistan needing superstars, it needs sound processes, and cultural change.
          2+2 will always be 4
          Show me emotions that can make it 5 or 3, so get out of this emotional destructive cycle.
          And if he loves pakistan so much then y not ask people in pakistan for money who actually is also benefiting from it, u see the hypocrisy.

  • nob hamid gul

    I don’t think paf will buy more than 12 or 16 aircraft.

  • Khan

    new modernization rules are over and mt is free with his retard mentality and messy comments again

    • Abdul Rashid

      Hi Mr. Khan. The moderation rules are still the same and applied as best as possible. All comments are read before approval and many that clearly break the rules are not posted. Some strong opinions are expressed here and sometimes nothing is said to back them up but as long as they are not insulting anyone or abusive and written in (somewhat) comprehensible English and on topic(ish) then often such comments are allowed through. We try our best to be fair but cannot please everyone all the time!

      • Khan

        “india is 5000yr old civilisation while pak is 70yr old confused state. plz don’t behave like zahil hamid”
        So these are not insulting comments for Pakistan and “Sir Zaid Hamid” in your view?

        • Thanks for raising this, that comment by MT slipped. MT will be under closer watch and posters who have nothing but insults – overt or greased in – will be banned.

          • GhalibKabir

            Abusive comments are obnoxious. Quriashi’s is obnoxious too. Submissive blood? One has to be completely ignorant of subcontinent history to make an abusive claim like that. So the Marathas, Vijayanagar, Ahom kings were all submissive is it? Muslim rule for the most time was a result of reasonable agreements between both communities with losses occurring when diverse smaller states squabbled continuously allowing outsiders (remember it was Hindu Rajputs and Sikhs who invited Abdali into India to counter the Peshwa Maratha).

            progressive children formed Pakistan? again historical inaccuracy and rank slander. Pakistan is feudal precisely because Mughal era landed gentry in UP decided to throw a hissy fit and go separate. besides many other factors, central to the idea of Pakistan were the ignoble ideas of superiority professed by Syed Ahmed Khan (admittedly Shah Waliullah was amongst the first to profess them in 1700s)…

            Attn Bilal: Please ensure to the extent possible that gross slander and indecent statements are avoided by commenters. Thanks

          • We do what we can, but if something slips, just bring it to our attention.

          • GhalibKabir

            Thanks. I thoroughly enjoy reading this site and it is quite good in terms of discussion depth and breadth. There are plenty of ‘poop’ flinging forums where Indians and Pakistanis fight needlessly. This place need not be one such site. Strong differences are ok but civility should be paramount. no excuses for bad manners ever.

            you run a good site Bilal and Co. Have a good weekend.

          • Quraishi

            When u leave any group of people one or a few always naturally takes a leadership role.
            I was more referring to leadership in contrast and comparison to other races.
            Admission or stating facts as one perceives them is not abusive, who did I abuse :s
            And u criticize others ideas as ignoble isn’t that abuse, who r u to judge and label now.

        • Quraishi

          India may sure well be a 5000 years old civilization but one that has always been submissive, with any progress periods falling under the rule of invading force.
          Indian blood has instinct submissive qualities, and it’s well known and seen, honestly much worse then one being confused.
          Infact it was the children of those true progressive rulers of India that eventually formed pakistan.

  • Sami Shahid

    Hope Pakistan will soon sign a big deal with Russia….let it be Su-35’s or Long Range SAM’s

  • Quraishi

    What’s the point now when PAK FA 50/ su 50 is coming in less then 2 years time, even earlier then the Pakistans order of su 35 delivery date most likely.
    There’s no point in looking at military equipment in isolation, it’s all relative. It may have all what you people have said and more, but if your opponent has one which is more advance, then it’s practically just talk, and numbers.
    Soon india will get su 50, and that’s why russia is willing to sell pakistan su 35 as they are using this platform to earn them cash now as it’s no longer strategic to them or India.

  • rtnguy

    So u rely on arms control wonk which is least trustworthy. Number of missile tests carried out by India is 3 times that of pakistan and its nuke arsenal is smaller. What are those missiles carrying-flowers

  • SP

    Russia $13,000 per capita
    China $7,600 per capita
    India $1,600 per capita
    Pakistan $1,400 per capita

    • MT

      What matters is volume of GDP.

      • Quraishi

        Actually none of this is an absolute measure of what u people are trying to judge. There are various other factors that plays crucial part in a countries defense strength, with gdp being an important one.
        However innovation and defense industrial base is something which these numbers do not reflect.
        Even when Russian gdp was much lower after the fall of Soviet Union, it was still very powerful militarily compared to countries with very high gdp per capita such as uae, Spain etc.
        And even today Russian gdp is much lower then many countries but those other countries are nowhere near in defense as Russia.

        One may now say why is it that I keep on insisting for economic growth (mostly gdp growth) is because I see it as critical or the most scarce resource limiting defense growth. But this may not be the case for each and every country.

        • MT

          India is ranked 5th largest manufacturer after US,China,German & Japan but India would not make it to top 10 countries in defence manufacturing.

          Russia is for sure among top 2-3 producers of defense equipment’s.

          Tier 1: US, France, Russia,UK,Israel,Germany Sweden,Japan
          All tier 1 countries are ranked in top 20 innovation
          Tier 2: China, Ukraine, Italy,Spain,Norway
          all tier2 countries are ranked in top 50 global innovation index
          Tier 3: India, Turkey,Kazakhstan, Czech,Poland
          Tier 4: Iran, Pakistan

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