“It’s a great airplane and very dangerous, especially if they make a lot of them,” one senior U.S. military official with extensive experience on fifth-generation fighters told me some time ago. “I think even an AESA [active electronically scanned array-radar equipped F-15C] Eagle and [Boeing F/A-18E/F] Super Hornet would both have their hands full.”
The Syrian deployment will allow the Russian air force to gain valuable operational experience on the Su-35 — even if four warplanes don’t add a decisive material value to the fight.
Deploying the Su-35 to Syria also serves as a marketing tool for the formidable warplane. Moscow has sold the jet to China and hopes to secure further orders for the new fighter. Demonstrated combat experience in Syria should help with that goal.
Take Note, Turkey — Russia’s New Su-35S Arrives in Syria