WASHINGTON — The opportunity for Algeria to acquire Russian Su-57 stealth fighters has not passed. For the past few months, there has been speculation that there is a $7 billion deal between Russia and Algeria. This agreement is for the acquisition of weapons systems and, according to sources, was signed in 2021.
At the moment, there is no officially confirmed information that the agreement exists. But on September 15th, a report from the office of US Senator Marco Rubio [Florida] called for economic sanctions against Algeria. The report states that CAATSA rules should be implemented. I.e. economic war against a country that has allowed itself to acquire Russian, Iranian, or North Korean weapons.
Already in 2021, there was talk that Algeria might want to acquire the Su-57. In principle, it is the only country in the world that sometimes receives Russian weapons before the Russians are armed with them. According to Algeria, there is a serious threat in the area because NATO member countries are arming the Libyan government. Algeria must deter a possible threat in the general opinion of the political circles in Algiers [Algeria’s capital city].
Not only Su-57s
According to various speculative comments, the African country will want to purchase 14 units of Su-57 Felon. Such a deal, according to Russian media, will amount to about 2 billion USD. The remaining $5 billion is supposed to be spent on the latest Russian S-500 Prometheus air defense system, upgrading T-90 tanks, as well as buying the T-14 Armata, upgrading Su-30 fighters with new radars, engines, and missiles, as well as the purchase of Su-34 fighters. The latter is supposed to replace, according to rumors, the obsolete Algerian Su-24M strike fighter.
Russian sources claim that Algeria is the secret customer of Russian Su-57s. However, the African country will not be able to receive the first manufactured units before 2025, when serial production of the export version of the fighter jet is supposed to begin.
Saturn 30 engine
The U.S. realizes that if the allegations in the U.S. report by Sen. Marco Rubio is right, Algeria could be the country to lift Russia’s defense industry with these orders. Moreover, Russia is ready to offer industrial cooperation and technology transfer. This will “concrete” Russian weapons positions in Algeria for decades to come.
Algeria may acquire Russian Su-57s, which will be different from those currently in service in Russia. The new Saturn 30 engine provides better performance and Algeria will want it. By the time of the eventual transfer of the first units, the African country will receive a fighter with better characteristics, radar and weapon systems, as well as fire control systems than those currently in the Russian Su-57 inventory.
History shows that Algeria remains one of Russia’s most secretive clients. When he announces the purchase of Russian weapons, he does so at the last minute without much explaining to the public the reasons for his choice. Only time will tell whether the statements in the report of US Senator Rubio will turn out to be true.
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