LONDON — Russia is projecting it may sell as many as 1,000 T-50 fighter aircraft in the coming decades.
In addition to sales to the two countries already signed on to the program, Russia and India, the Tsamto analysis center associated with the Russian defense ministry sees at least 274-388 aircraft being sold to more than ten other countries.
Algeria, Kazakhstan and Syria are seen as potentially among the first export buyers of the fifth-generation Sukhoi fighter currently in flight testing. Sales to those three countries could come as early as 2025. Two aircraft are now participating in the flight test program.
In Latin America, Tsamto sees prospects for sales to Brazil, Venezuela and Argentina. Venezuela is seen as the first potential buyer, in the 2027-2032 timeframe; China also has been courting fighter sales to Venezuela, though.
Iran is seen as a prospect, assuming the arms embargo now over the country is dropped.
Regarding China, Tsamto also believes a deal could happen, but with some unspecified caveats. One concern is likely the ability to protect Russia’s intellectual property, given the country’s experience with selling Sukhoi Su-27s to China only to see them lead to home-grown copies.
Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are seen as other potential export markets in Asia for the T-50.
Tsamto speculates even western European countries could become buyers of a version of the aircraft.