Within the early hours of February 11 it was introduced that the Indonesian Defence Ministry had signed a $13.9 billion contract for the acquisition of 36 Boeing F-15 Eagle heavyweight fighter jets from the USA. This made Indonesia the seventh consumer for the fighter after Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Singapore and Qatar, with the heavyweight fighters having seen comparatively few exports primarily because of their excessive operational prices and upkeep necessities. Indonesia has for the reason that Nineties operated heavyweight and light-weight fighters in parallel, and at present deploys a fleet of heavy Russian Su-27 and Su-30 jets complemented by lighter American F-16s. Whereas Russian fighters had been initially anticipated to get replaced by extra trendy Su-35S ‘4++ era’ fighters, American threats to impose financial sanctions on the Southeast Asian nation ought to purchase high-performance Russian weaponry led Jakarta to change its plans and buy F-15s of their place.
Though the designation of Indonesia’s F-15s stays unsure, they’re anticipated to be intently primarily based on the F-15EX at present on order for the U.S. Air Drive. The Su-35 and F-15EX are each primarily based on rival Chilly Struggle period designs, the previous the Su-27 Flanker and the latter the F-15C Eagle, which had been the prime fighters of the Soviet and U.S. fleets through the interval. Though the Flanker was thought of the extra succesful fighter through the Chilly Struggle, as demonstrated in a number of workouts and simulations and attested to by a number of American army officers comparable to Air Drive Chief of Workers Michael Ryan, the collapse of the Soviet Union and sharp contraction of the Russian tech sector allowed the U.S. army aviation trade to largely bridge the hole. The F-15EX is thus thought of to face a greater probability in opposition to the Su-35 than F-15s from the Eighties did in opposition to the Su-27. The newest F-15 variants profit from avionics, information hyperlinks and sensors that are thought of no less than on par with if no more succesful than these of the Su-35. The Russian fighter in contrast has considerably extra highly effective engines, three dimensional thrust vectoring capabilities for improved manoeuvrability, and an prolonged 400km air to air engagement vary utilizing R-37M missiles the place F-15s can solely fireplace an estimated 160-180km utilizing the R-37M. The Su-35 additionally advantages from use of triple radars, with two L-band AESA radars embedded in its wings, the place the F-15 makes use of solely a single AESA radar in its nostril. This supplies the Russian fighter with distinctive digital warfare capabilities and certain a superior efficiency in opposition to stealth targets.
An necessary benefit of the Su-35 program is that the Flanker household of plane to which it belongs has been on the core of Russian tactical fight aviation for the reason that Soviet collapse, with the big majority of latest fighters acquired for the reason that Soviet collapse being derivatives of the Su-27, the place the U.S. in contrast ceased F-15 acquisitions for nearly 20 years from 2001 producing them just for export. Extra significance has thus been hooked up to bringing the Su-35 as much as a efficiency normal the place it may possibly cope with the newest fifth era fighters, partly because of Russia’s lack of its personal fifth era plane, the place the U.S.’ fifth era applications have made F-15 modernisation much less of a precedence. Whereas the newest F-15 variants are properly matched in opposition to the Su-35, the Russian fighter is anticipated to have an edge with benefits in additional key areas of efficiency notably for air to air and anti transport missions.
For the Indonesian Air Drive the selection between the Su-35 and F-15 can be a detailed one in the event that they had been supplied below comparable phrases, with the American Eagle doubtlessly advantaged by its better interoperability with different Western fighters comparable to F-16s whereas the Su-35 will have the ability to use a lot of the upkeep infrastructure and armaments from the Su-27 and Su-30 and would require considerably much less conversion coaching. The worth distinction between the 2 fighters has been super, nonetheless, with the F-15 supplied for $386 million every whereas the Su-35, if acquired in comparable numbers, can be anticipated to value round $78 million relying on the choices added. This locations the F-15’s value at 495 % that of the Su-35, or nearly 5 instances the worth. Instead of 36 F-15s, due to this fact, Indonesia might have bought by far the biggest Su-35 fleet on the earth at 180 airframes – greater than all Su-35s ever produced.
This comparability reductions operational prices, nonetheless, as each plane value comparable quantities to function which means sustaining such a big fleet of both fighter can be unsustainable. Neverthless, a comparability of the 2 fighters’ acquisition prices supplies an necessary instance of how way more affordably Russia has been capable of supply heavyweight fighters for export, in addition to the facility the USA wields with threats of financial sanctions to successfully press Indonesia to desert Su-35s in favour of a largely equal fighter for 5 instances the worth. That is regardless of the U.S. additionally inserting strict restrictions on how its fighters can be utilized, together with which bases can host them, the place Russia has allowed its fighters for use with nearly no restrictions.