Russian officials denied reports that a batch of Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jets are about to be delivered to Algeria.
According to Russian news agency Interfax, reports were denied by the press secretary of Federal Service of Military-Technical Cooperation Valery Reshetnikov.
On March 15, Russian press started reporting that a first batch of Sukhoi Su-34ME strike fighters, intended for Algeria, entered production at Novosibirsk Aircraft Production Association Plant. The report was later confirmed by the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade, a Russian think tank closely linked with the country’s arms industry.
The news was widely reported in the Algerian press. Supposedly, six of 14 ordered aircraft would reach Algerian Air Force by the end of 2021, with the training of personnel scheduled for 2022.
Algerian-Russian discussions on the sale of various kinds of new military aircraft are ongoing since 2013. Several times Algeria was named as the first export customer of the Sukhoi Su-57, the latest Russian 5th generation fighter jet. Algeria’s interest to purchase Su-34s as a replacement for its ageing fleet of Su-24 attack jets was acknowledged by Russia’s officials.
The Sukhoi Su-35 is a fighter-bomber with an emphasis on ground attack, based on the Su-27 family of multirole fighter jets. The Algerian version, designated Su-34ME, would reportedly feature a different version of communication and friend-or-foe identification systems, but in all other aspects be identical to the basic production variant currently serving with the Russian Air Force.
Currently Algerian Air Force operates a number of Russian Su-30 and MiG-29 fighters, in addition to Su-24 strike fighters. It also may be world’s last operator of MiG-25 heavy interceptor