The Flanker E is a very good aircraft. It’s like the F-15SA but from Russia, meaning it’s as good as it gets within the 4th gen. Russian fighters.
Sukhoi is way ahead of it’s local competitor, the famous MiG producer, and it looks like it may again get a new contract. The buyer is a bit… surprising. When we look at United Arab Emirates current inventory there is a long list of western aircraft and yet they have decided to go for the Russian equipment. How to understand this?
Is the Russian aircraft a bargain compared with the latest and greatest from the west? Both in the long term and in the initial price? Does it offer the same specs/capabilities or is it just a bit worse in a few areas but is the best deal for the money on the table?
As with all modern aircraft answering all of those questions would be pure speculative and depending on the OSINT which isn’t good enough when it goes for such sophisticated equipment.
The Su-35S would be the crown joule in UAE fighter stack. How to fit it in the already available inventory? How will it communicate with the western aircraft, radars, pods, how will it “suck” data and send it back etc. How to get it network-centric within the western network? How would it work together with the F-16E/F?
Those are the questions from the top of my head but let’s move to the other side. Russia is selling it’s top fighter to a all western equipped country which is an USA ally, trains with them, buys equipment from them etc. What with the latest tech which could possibly by examined/ leaked/ not to mention sold? Can Russia secure it’s technology so that it could be safe out there? Does it add up? Not for me. It has absolutely no sense.
You could think about equipment sources diversification but I don’t buy it. Can a few dozens of Russian fighters change anything in an all western air force? No. Is it a permanent shift? I don’t think so. They would have to change everything and it would take a huge amount of money and time.
The wildest idea would be to have an asset which could potentially be a trump card when all goes bananas but then again what can a few dozen of fighters change? Whom would they confront in that situation?
This whole deal is a mystery for me. Any hints WHY do they do it?