Russia ‘ready to cooperate’ to sell Turkey Su-57 fighter jets
Russia was “ready to cooperate” to sell Ankara Su-57 fighter jets if Turkey’s participation in the F-35 jet program with the U.S. fell through, the head of the Russian state-owned Rostec Corporation’s Sergey Chemezov said on May 2.
“These fifth-generation Russian fighter jets [Su-57] have outstanding qualities, and show promise for export,” he told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, adding that the jets were ready to be sold.
Asked about possible production in Turkey of the S-400 and Su-57, Chemezov said Russia would “gladly evaluate” any Turkish suggestions for localization or transfer of technologies.
Emphasizing Turkey’s progress since the early 2000s to replace imports in its defense industry, he said the country was highly competent in producing rifle armaments, armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles.
“We are ready to support Turkey’s desire to develop its own defense industry,” added Chemezov.
Turkey first NATO member to sign for S-400s
Turkey is the first NATO country to sign a contract for the Russian S-400 missile defense system, said the head of the Russian company for export-oriented defense and civilian industries.
Despite unprecedented pressure regarding the S-400 deal, Turkey continues holding a very direct and consistent position regarding implementation of all the contract provisions, Chemezov said.
The fact that Turkey does not yield to pressure from its partners demonstrates the independence of its foreign policy as pursued by country’s government and president, he added.
“We signed the contract for the S-400s in 2017, and before the end of this year, we plan to conclude all deliveries,” Chemezov said, adding that the deal was significant for both Moscow and Ankara.
He also said Russia invited the prospect of cooperation with Turkey in the development of the next generation air defense system - the S-500 project.
“The S-500s are currently under development and will be a Russian state-of-the-art air defense system without equal throughout the world,” he said emphasizing that both countries had the capacity to contribute to such a project.
Russian-Turkish civilian cooperation
Chemezov also added that Rostec wanted to establish “durable and long-term” cooperation with Turkey in defense as well as in civilian technologies such as helicopter manufacturing.
He noted that Turkish aerospace corporation TUSAS/TAI produces various helicopter components which Russian firms could use and certify for use in Russian-made aircraft.
Russia is prepared to supply Turkey different types of helicopters, he said.
“In 2018, we signed a contract to supply Turkey with three Ka-32 helicopters to fight fires. Rostec intends to further develop cooperation in the field of fire aviation with Turkey,” he said, estimating that the Turkish market of aerial fire-fighting craft comprised of 50-70 such helicopters.
He identified energy domain as area of promise for cooperation between Rostec and Turkey.
He said the Russian United Engine Corporation (UEC) - a Rostec subsidiary - was working on the implementation of joint programs for the development of a strategic partnership with Turkish pipeline operator Botaş.
He cited two contracts with Turkey to supply and overhaul gas turbine engines in 2013 and 2014.
“In addition, we expect the signing of a third contract for routine maintenance of an energy facility in Sivas [central Turkey],” Chemezov said.
Chemezov applauded Turkey’s efforts to develop its own space program as one more potential area of broad cooperation between the two countries.
He noted that the Turkish Turksat-4A satellite had been launched by Russian company Rosoboronexport, under Rostec and said the company had ample opportunities that could be useful for Turkey.