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UAE reportedly in talks for “several dozen” Sukhoi Su-35 fighters

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is reportedly in talks with Russia for the purchase of “several dozen” Su-35 Flanker-E multi-role fighters from the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC).

Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov reportedly told the Russian News Agency TASS that negotiations with Abu Dhabi are underway. As per Manturov, Russia will provide the Su-35’s technical documentation to the UAE in short order.

The Su-35 is the latest iteration of the venerable Sukhoi Flanker-series. The Su-35 is powered by two AL-41F1S turbofan engines, which provide an afterburning thrust of 142 kN each. With 12 external weapon stations, the Su-35 has a payload of 8,000 kg, which can be used to deploy air-to-air, air-to-surface, and special mission equipment. The Su-35 has a ferry range of 4,500 km.

Notes & Comments:

At the IDEX 2017, which took place in Abu Dhabi in February, the UAE signed an agreement with UAC to collaborate on the development of a next-generation lightweight fighter. Reports of a possible Su-35 sale suggest that the UAE’s engagement plans with Russia are not peripheral, but may potentially constitute a central aspect of Abu Dhabi’s long-term defence planning.

Technically, the Su-35 is a long-range heavyweight platform. If it joins the UAE Air Force’s fleet of medium-weight F-16E/F Block-60 Desert Falcons and Mirage 2000-5Mk2/-9, it would bolster the UAE’s deep-strike and air interdiction capabilities. Its procurement would also signify a shift in the UAE Air Force’s sourcing, which has been exclusively done from the U.S. and France.

Abu Dhabi is also pushing for a stronger local supply channel for defence items, as evident in the investment and growth of the Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC). EDIC has been a conduit for the supply of precision-guided munitions, armoured vehicles and small-arms to the Emirati armed forces. Considering the fighter development deal signed with UAC in IDEX, it will be worth observing how EDIC could figure in a potential Su-35 program.


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  • by Aaif khan
    Posted April 23, 2017 10:21 pm 0Likes

    Interesting shift.

  • by Salman Khan
    Posted April 24, 2017 12:11 am 0Likes


  • by Syed Arbab Shah
    Posted April 24, 2017 1:41 am 0Likes

    This could also mean that PAF pilots can openly join UAE AF and operate the SU 35.

  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 24, 2017 2:01 pm 0Likes

    deep strike? Against whom? or it is the ploy of these Gulf states which they have used to engage America in the past to protect the monarchies? Can anyone here enlighten me over the exact purpose of Su-35s for UAE?

  • by Sami Shahid
    Posted April 24, 2017 5:15 pm 0Likes

    This can be a threat to Pakistan…. We should buy FC-31

  • by Sami Shahid
    Posted April 24, 2017 5:16 pm 0Likes

    No need to do that

  • by John Rue
    Posted April 24, 2017 9:35 pm 0Likes

    I think you are not following up on UAE’s recent 180 degree turn towards India. They have participated in their military parade and they have totally dumped Pakistan.
    This happened after Pakistan’s refusal to join Saudi forces in Yemen and all the verbal spat between UAE and Pakistani Govt officials.

  • by ahmria
    Posted April 24, 2017 10:27 pm 0Likes

    The SU-35 would be insurance against Iran and with its range and capability would be a very strong deterrent.

  • by ahmria
    Posted April 25, 2017 3:08 am 0Likes

    I don’t think these Sukhois are being bought to threaten Pakistan. More than likely it’s to scare the Iranians.

  • by OSD
    Posted April 25, 2017 4:23 am 0Likes

    You are reading too much into it. The UAE has sporadically engaged with India in the past too, but it has always tilted back to Pakistan. Just as the Pakistani-Russian ties can never become a true alliance, the UAE-Indian ties will always remain transactional.

  • by yas
    Posted April 25, 2017 5:06 am 0Likes

    I think UAE should be strengthening its Air force if they can afford it. This would be a deterrence against its hidden enemies plus it would help them in case of any unexpected war. and as long as Saudi is a close ally of pakistan it will never let UAE take any step which will harm pakistan. Whereas UAE and India’s relation is concerned that should not be an issue in purchase of Su-35. Every country wants to improve diplomatic relations with others keeping their country’s interest in mind. If saudi arabia dumped pakistan then it would be a matter of concern. but it did not rather it participated in our military parade.

  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 25, 2017 1:59 pm 0Likes

    that is the excuse they give every time they buy anything, Iran does not even have 50+ fourth generation aircrafts let alone a sizeable air force

  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 25, 2017 2:02 pm 0Likes

    Excuse me but why do most of the Indians have this illusion that everything in the world has something to do with India? Again UAE’s participation back fired with the participation of Chinese, Turkish and Saudi contingents on Pakistan day parade, want to try something else? Since Raheel Sharif will be taking care of leadership of Islamic Alliance and Iran will be engaged through CPEC, there will be only one looser in the region, India

  • by ahmria
    Posted April 26, 2017 6:17 pm 0Likes

    The thing is the Iranian Air Force is still capable of provising a credible threat in the congested airspace of the gulf with their third generation jets like the F4 phantoms and the locally upgraded F14 tomcats as well as their Mig29 jets. There is also discussions going on between Iran and Russia with regards to a contract for SU-30 Flankers which would definitely be a massive capability boost to Iran.

  • by John Rue
    Posted April 27, 2017 12:18 am 0Likes

    UAE is continuing to invest in India. Nothing back fired. Not really Indian here but its interesting how Indians capitalize on every Pakistani mistake. Wrong Pakistani stand in Iran Taliban conflict in early 2000s made India and Iran friends. To-date Iran is involved in anti Pakistan operations including the most recent involvement of RAW agent coming from Iran. A gangster who was recently arrested has also been providing information to Iranians. Saudis also received India Airforce planes on their soil but it couldn’t go any further.

  • by Firoz Akhtar
    Posted April 27, 2017 1:24 am 0Likes

    i think u missed rahil sarif joining 39 nation military co operation,

  • by MT
    Posted April 27, 2017 4:11 am 0Likes

    Iran and UAE have decent working relationships. UAE have block 60+ f16 so why would they buy substandard Su35 which doesnt have an Aesa radar

  • by Zill e Hussnain
    Posted April 27, 2017 3:07 pm 0Likes

    UAE already has the latest F-16s which frankly speaking can take on entire Iranian air force, secondly do you think Russia will first sell Su-30 to Iran and later Su-35 to UAE and let them fight each other?

  • by Aaif khan
    Posted April 28, 2017 7:32 am 0Likes

    Agree with you.
    what can stop UAE from going against Pakistan? What favour/strategic help that UAE may need from Pakistan??
    I believe that UAE Pakistan relations wont be affected much by India. But again, I am skeptical no one knows what lies in the future given the fast changing geopolitics in middle East.

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