The rumour concerning the acquisition of a new disruptive capacity for Algiers is again relayed by certain Internet sites, but also taken up by part of the Russian press. Morocco's new military acquisitions in the field of electronic warfare and ground-air defence could justify such an acquisition, if Moscow agrees. Air & Cosmos reports
The purchase of the F-16 Viper by the Moroccan air force and the F-35 by Italy would have weighed in the Algerian decision to strengthen its air fleet with the acquisition of three new Russian aircraft: the long-range bomber SU-34, the multi-role fighter SU-35, but also the 5th generation aircraft Su-57. The latter was studied at length by the Algerian delegation at the MAKS show in 2019, and even evaluated in simulator. As our colleagues at Menadefense report, Algeria has acquired 14 Russian Su-34 fighter-bombers after 8 years of negotiations. The first six will arrive in Algeria in the coming weeks, the last ones will be delivered in 2022 and 2023. Production is said to have started in January at the Chkalov aeronautical factory in Novosibirsk. This information was taken up by several specialised sites in Spain and Vietnam.
The sale of the Su-34 has been a topic raised by these same sources since 2016. In 2019, following a new dissemination of this information, the FSVTS (the Russian federal service in charge of military-technical cooperation, which intervenes in the decision to export military equipment), published a denial concerning the Su-34, but not the Su-57.... In fact, the FSVTS's response regarding the Su-34 is ambiguous, and should be read between the lines: "The FSVTS of the Russian Federation does not confirm the information published on the Internet stating that Russia intends to send Su-34s to Algeria. No production of the aircraft for Algeria is being carried out. Indeed, it seems logical not to start building an aircraft until negotiations have been concluded, if at all. However, at the end of 2015 in an interview with the newspaper Vedomosti, Serguei Mediornov, the CEO of the Chkalov factory, acknowledged that Algiers had made an official request to Rosoboronexport to acquire this aircraft (https://web.archive.org/web/20160214122804/http://vedomosti.sfo.ru/articles/?article=46910).
Affectionately called the Platypus in the Russian air force, the Su-34 is an evolution of the Su-27, which is characterised by the position of the pilot and the weapons officer in the cockpit, placed side by side. This configuration is similar to that of the American A-6 Intruder, which demonstrated during the Vietnam War that it favoured crew interaction during low-level penetration missions against anti-aircraft systems. But above all by its highly digital avionics with an open architecture, and the multiplicity of its long-range precision weapons. The Su-34 has never been exported. It is a heavy bomber that also has the characteristics of a fighter, and its range exceeds 1000 km with its 12 T of weapons. But it has also demonstrated its ability to fly over 6,000 km. Equipped with the Khibiny self-protection system, and the PESA V004 radar made by Leninetz, which offers a terrain tracking and obstacle avoidance mode (but also a second radar at the rear, the N-012 from Phazotron, to neutralise pursuers by means of an R-73 missile without having to manoeuvre), it is designed, thanks to its numerous armaments spread over 12 carrying points (anti-radar, anti-surface, anti-aircraft missiles, guided bombs up to 1500 kg . ...) to neutralise land or naval anti-aircraft defence systems, but also fortified command centres, as well as highly mobile targets as demonstrated by the operations in Syria against Al Nusra. Two new versions are said to be in development since 2018, one for ISR reconnaissance, and the other analogous to the F-18 Growler for escort jamming missions thanks to the L700 Tarantul pod, as well as for neutralization at a safe distance of adversary SEADs or AWACS. The state of the threat on Algeria's borders did not seem to justify such an aircraft for the time being, but the acquisition confirmed by Morocco last January of the Patriot system, the MICA VL at the end of 2020, the 4 Israeli G550 electronic warfare aircraft, as well as the return of tensions in the Western Sahara, are on the way to modifying the deal.
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