Indonesia will acquire 11 Su-35 Flanker-E fighters from Russia
November 28, 2023
Su-35. Photo credit: United Aircraft Corporation

Indonesia will acquire 11 Su-35 Flanker-E fighters from Russia

Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu announced that Jakarta will purchase 11 Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E multi-role fighters from Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

The statement was made following a cabinet meeting at the Presidential Office on July 26. Ryacudu added that negotiations with Moscow took two years (via state-owned Antara News)

Indonesia’s Ministry of Defence announced that it would pursue a squadron of Su-35s in September 2015 to supplant its legacy Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs. Defence Minister Ryacudo confirmed in December 2016 that talks for the fighters with co-production and technology-transfer benefits.

In June, Rostec’s Director of International Cooperation and Regional Policy Viktor Kladov told the Russian News Agency TASS that Jakarta and Moscow had concluded a contract for eight Su-35s.

Indonesia will be the Su-35’s second overseas buyer following China. The Su-35s will join the Indonesian Air Force’s (TNI-AU) Su-30MKK/MK2 and Su-27 Flankers. Ryacudu added that Jakarta was also planning to acquire new armed drones. As per Indonesian officials, these will come from China.

The Su-35 Flanker-E is the latest variant of the Sukhoi Flanker-series of heavyweight twin-engine fighter aircraft. It is powered by two 117S turbofan engines with thrust-vectoring nozzles.

With the Irbis-E passive electronically-scanned array radar, the Su-35 can detect targets (with radar cross-sections of 3m2) up to 400 km away. The fighter has 12 external hardpoints, enabling a payload of 8,000 kg. It can carry a wide range of air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions.

Since its introduction, the Su-35 has garnered international interest from Russia’s traditional armament buyers and prospective customers. In April, the Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov reportedly told TASS that the United Arab Emirates was interested in “several dozen” Su-35s.

Pakistan has also been slotted as a potential Su-35 customer, especially following Washington’s refusal to subsidize a sale of eight Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block-52 in May 2016. Pakistani officials responded to the matter by stating they would seek alternatives from China or Russia.

In September 2016, Rosonboronexport said that it was not negotiating with Islamabad for the Su-35.

In April, the Pakistan Air Force’s (PAF) Chief of Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman stated in an interview with Bol Narratives that the PAF “has to induct new aircraft” and that it has “some of the leading options both in China and Russia.” This was the first instance of the PAF officially confirming the possibility of acquiring Russian platforms, though the CAS did not specify the Su-35.

UAC is also pitching its Su-30SME and MiG-35 Fulcum-F to the world market. The latter is being positioned as an affordable high-tech solution for developing world air forces.