Turkey could possibly purchase Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets, if Washington realizes its threat to block the delivery of F-35 joint strike fighters, Viktor Litovkin, a military analyst with the Moscow-based TASS news agency was cited by RT.
“If the US fails to ship the jets to Turkey, Ankara can certainly buy the Su-35s from Russia instead,” he said.
Also according to Litovkin, both aircraft have characteristics that are comparable, Moscow also wouldn’t be worried of theft of sensitive military technology, because the aircraft’s software is “hard to crack.”
It would also be possibly to easily integrate the fighter jets in the Turkish military.
The possible block of the delivery the F-35 joint strike fighters is due to Turkey’s conclusion of a deal for the purchase of Russian S-400, which it says is final.
On February 15th, US President Donald Trump signed a spending bill according to which delivery of the jets to Turkey will be blocked until the U.S. secretaries of state and defense submit an update to the report regarding Turkey’s purchase of the S–400 missile defense system from the Russian Federation.
On February 18th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said there was no turning back on Turkey’s decision to purchase the S-400 air defense systems. Turkey expects the delivery of the missiles to start this year.
A US delegation visited Ankara in December, after the U.S. State Department informed the US Congress that it had approved a $3.5-billion sale of Patriot air defense batteries to Turkey. The delegation reportedly set the cancellation of the S-400 deal as a prerequisite for the purchase of the U.S.-made system.
Turkey declined the possible Patriot deal, deeming the requirements unacceptable.
“The Russians said they would deliver the S-400s in a short time both for a very good price and promising technology transfer,” the chairman of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Volkan Bozkır, told reporters in Ankara following a visit to Washington in February. “Therefore, we signed the deal for the purchase of S-400 systems as it addressed our needs and the main part of the payments have been made, while efforts are going ahead for delivery to Turkey in November.”
According to the bill signed by Trump, the US would wait until November to make a decision regarding the F-35 delivery, while the delivery of the S-400 to Turkey is expected to begin in July.
Regardless, on March 28th, four US senators – Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Van Hollen and Republicans James Lankford and Thom Tillis introduced a bill to ban the transfer of the F-35 joint strike fighters.
“The prospect of Russia having access to U.S. aircraft and technology in a NATO country, Turkey, is a serious national and global security risk,” Shaheen said.
“Turkey is an important NATO ally and willing partner in addressing a number of U.S. national security priorities,” said Lankford. “It’s concerning that Turkey would seek close defense cooperation with Russia, whose authoritarian ruler seeks to undermine NATO and U.S. interests at every turn.”