The debate of which fifth generation fighter jet would win in a head to head battle, the F-35 or the Su-57, could be decided without a single shot fired. Business Insider is reporting that there are multiple experts stating that Russia’s fifth generation fighter jet program is in desperate need of funding. The Trump administration’s loosening of export restrictions on the F-35 have put a major strain on Russia’s fifth generation fighter program by offering countries a better alternative. Alex Lockie reports that the final blow could come from a boardroom in India.
Russia recently grabbed a bunch of publicity for its new Su-57 fifth-generation jet by sending a pair of the supposedly stealth fighters to practice dropping bombs in Syria — but it looks like the F-35 could squash the program in its infancy.
Multiple experts recently told Business Insider that Russia’s program to acquire and field the Su-57 desperately needs an infusion of cash from an international investor like India.
Initially, India was a partner in the Su-57 program, and intended to help develop, build, and eventually buy scores of the advanced fighter jet pitched as a rival to the US F-22 and F-35, but those talks soured and Russia never saw the money.
Experts now allege that Russia’s deployment of the underdeveloped, underpowered fighters to Syria, a combat zone where they’re hardly relevant as air-superiority fighters not facing any real air threats, was a marketing ploy to get more investment.
But while Russia rushes off the Su-57s for a deployment that lasts mere days and demonstrates only that the supposedly next-generation fighters can drop bombs, the US has made real inroads selling the F-35 to countries that might have looked at the Su-57.
The US sent F-35s to the Singapore Air Show in February as part of an international sales pitch. President Donald Trump’s administration has loosened up regulations on who the US can sell weapons to, and the F-35, once a troubled program, finally seems to have hit its stride.
“The Russian economy is a mess,” retired US Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, now head of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Business Insider. “One of the things they can actually get money for is the advanced tech in their weapons systems.” […]
If India decided to buy F-35s, or really any Western jet, Russia would have it’s struggling Su-57 and one fewer customer for it. Meanwhile, Russia has only ordered 12 of the Su-57s, not even enough for a full squadron. […]
The US’s F-35 is a real jet — three real jets actually — that has significant money behind it to keep it flying in air forces around the globe for decades to come. Russia’s Su-57 has no such security.
Source: Business Insider