CAATSA Or PESA: Why Have These Countries Decided Against Acquiring Russia’s Su-35 Fighter?
Russia’s Sukhoi is finding it increasingly difficult to sell its Su-35 Flanker-E fighter jet, with at least two countries recently opting out of sizable acquisitions.
In December, the government of Indonesia announced that it had decided not to go ahead with its acquisition of Su-35s. Jakarta had plans to buy at least 11 Su-35s for $1.14 billion. Now, Indonesia will acquire either the Dassault Rafale or Boeing BA +3% F-15EX Eagle II.
The country may have decided against the Su-35 out of fear of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which obligates the imposition of U.S. sanctions against any country that makes large arms acquisitions from Russian defense companies. However, Jakarta’s initial order for the jets was made in early 2018, at least six months after CAATSA became law.
Egypt, which ordered a fleet of Su-35s for $2 billion in 2018, has also seemingly reversed its decision to acquire at least two dozen Flanker-Es. It seems Cairo is also worried about the prospect of CAATSA sanctions.
Algeria, long a major buyer of Russian jets and other military hardware, decided, on the other hand, not to buy the Su-35 because it was dissatisfied by the fact that the aircraft still has a passive electronically scanned array (PESA) rather than an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar system. Egypt is also disappointed by the lack of AESA radar on the jet.