MOSCOW — After three painstaking years of negotiation, Russia and Indonesia have finally agreed to sign a major aerospace deal later this year: 11 top-of-the-line Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for Indonesian palm oil, coffee, and other goods.
The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding in Moscow on Friday. A final contract may be signed by the end of the year, Russia’s business daily Vedomosti reported on Aug. 6, citing an unidentified Rostec source.
The barter arrangement will be facilitated by Rostec and Indonesia’s state-owned trading company PT Perusahaan Perdagangan Indonesia. The exact terms of the deal have yet to be made public, but the Su-35s will be financed by Indonesian exports to Russia.
In a statement released Aug. 3, Indonesian Trade Minister Enggartiaso Lukita said the terms include “the exchange of 11 Sukhoi Su-35s and a number of Indonesian exports, starting from coffee and tea to palm oil and strategic defense products.”
Rostec was less specific. In the company’s statement, released on Aug 4., Rostec claimed the Russian side retains the right to choose which goods it receives from Indonesia’s top exports.
Regardless of the means of payment, the sale of 11 Su-35s to Indonesia is a solid win for Russia’s defense industry. Indonesia has been a buyer of Western aircraft in the past, and joins China as among the first customers to get their hands on the Su-35.
Matthew Bodner covered Russian affairs for Defense News.