Indonesia To Trade Coffee And Palm Oil For Su-35 Super Flanker Combat Aircraft

Indonesia to buy 11 Su-35 Flanker jets from Russia.

According to the information released by The Jakarta Post on Aug. 4., Indonesia is going to barter its resources, including coffee, to acquire the Russian Su-35 supermaneuverable fighter aircraft.

The whole deal is to be directed by an Indonesian state-owned company – PT Perusahaan Perdagangan, collaborating with Rostec. The Parties in question, as The Jakarta Post reports, have signed a memorandum of understanding, assuming that Indonesian agricultural commodities would be traded for the Russian fighter aircraft, specifically 11 examples of the Su-35 jets.

Jakarta, in exchange, is to provide Russia with, among other goods, coffee, palm oil, or tea, as the Indonesian Trade Minister, Enggartiasto “Enggar” Lukita, stated, during his official visit to Russia which ended on Aug. 5.

The aforesaid deal is a clear sign that Russia is trying to find a variety of workarounds in order to mitigate the effects sanctions have on its economy. Indeed, during our recent trip to Moscow for MAKS 2017, high prices could have been noticed in case of commodities, the trade exchange of which has been limited by the EU or the US, e.g. apples.

The Indonesian officials interpret the above situation as a major opportunity also to expand and deepen the collaboration with Russia beyond the trading area in fields like tourism, student exchange, energy or technology – according to the statement made for The Jakarta Post by the Indonesian Trade Minister.

The Sukhoi Su-35 is a Russian jet fighter considered to belong to the 4++ generation, with its supermaneuverability capabilities demonstrated during this year’s edition of the Moscow MAKS Aviasalon.

Image Credit: Jacek Siminski

About Jacek Siminski
Standing contributor for TheAviationist. Aviation photojournalist. Co-Founder of Expert in linguistics, Cold War discourse, Cold War history and policy and media communications.


  1. Maybe this deal is also meant to avoid the Dollar as currency on the international market. If this idea spreads, it’s surely not in the interest of the United States.

    Edited a typo.

  2. “high prices could have been noticed in case of commodities, the trade exchange of which has been limited by the EU or the US, e.g. apples”

    Nope, Putin was the one that stopped food imports from the EU, thus punishing his own people for his reckless adventure in Ukraine. And the fact that Russia is trading fighter jets for food says enough about the state of the Russian economy.

    • Believe me, they’re not starving at all.
      The reason is much more prosaic: Russia tries to boost international sales of Su-35. The more countries purchase it, the more attractive it becomes for other customers. Thus, by allowing Indonesia to trade Su-35s for coffee Russia makes its high-tech hardware affordable for country which doesn’t have enough “live” money.
      This decision will be paid off later.

      • Who says they are starving? My point was that the article inaccurately points at the EU for shortages of foreign produced food items, while it’s Putin and his government that banned the imports of such items. Nothing more, nothing less. EU never introduced sanctions that are meant to hurt the ordinary Russian citizen – the sanctions are pointed towards the individuals and companies that supported the illegal annexation of Crimea and are supplying the separatists in eastern Ukraine with weapons that were even used for killing EU citizens in the downing of MH 17.

        • You stated that because of Russians banned imports from EU Russia faces food shortage, which is untrue.
          Your statement about illegal annexation of Crimea is equally incorrect – Crimea, being and autonomous republic, made its choice via public referendum.

    • Russian economy depends on oil and gas and imports most of the manufactured goods. So low oil energy and in part the sanctions have brought two very difficult years.

      Putin at the moment has been able to turn this in a sort of “Attack to Russia” and most of the people believe so at least in part. Ukraine intervention is also justified as a consequence of a coup organized by Mrs Clinton against ethnic Russians.

      At the moment Russian government has been desperate in finding alternative deals with not aligned nations and this is one of the few successes.

    • Nope. Russia indeed introduced countersanctions which if anything boosted its domestic production. The average price of 1 kg of apples in Moscow is руб 95 which is indeed ‘high’ when compared to other Russian cities (in Tula for example it is on average 1/3 less).

      Notice that the fighter jets are not traded for ‘food’. Russia is a major food exporter with 34-35 million metric tons of grain exported between July 2016 and Jun 2017. Instead Russia is trading for stuff not grown or produced in Russia such as coffee and palm oil hardly the produce of Russian agriculture.

      Another important aim of those barter deals is to circumvent handling transactions in USD via western financial institutions as there were not so vailed to cut Russia out of them.

      You don’t need to thank me but take the advice of checking basic facts before writing articles or posting comments.

      • The facts are that the ban on EU produced food to be sold in Russia is imposed by Putin and his government, not the EU.

        And when you say “Notice that the fighter jets are not traded for ‘food’.” Do you mean that coffee and palm oil are not food, but perhaps a luxury? I lived under the soviet block’s communism and I remember the coffee shortages, so congratulations to Putin for bringing Russia 30 years in the past.

    • Any profitable trade is a good trade and this by no means can be seen as meaningful economical indicator… But there are economical indicators like GDP etc that actually will prove you wrong. Sanctions and low oil price are the best things that happened to Russia lately, they are paying attention to the economy and corruption as a result.. look up their growth rates for the last years specifically in agriculture (my sources include FT)

          • Lets see what the Su-35 doesn’t have compared to F-22 and F-35…

            > no stealth (has some very minor features but nothing approaching what even the F-117 demonstrated. Your claims that the Su-35 is stealthy are about as true as saying a Civic Type R is in the same class as a Nissan GT-R)
            > not the same level of integrated avionics/sensor fusion
            > no AESA radar
            > no advanced flight data link/communications (for example MADL or IFDL)

            hell other western European aircraft will have or will get AESA radars (Gripen E, Rafale, and Typhoon). So yeah, its dated design. If there is anything that fighter pilots have learned when they fly AGAINST F-22 and F-35, “you’re either stealthy or you are a target”.

            • In term of stealth it may be dated but that doesn’t mean the whole aircraft is dated. There are still no evidences about the effectiveness of stealth in such combat situations when the side that is using stealth assets would have just partial technical superiority, i.e. would have to face enemy with modern military equipment such as 4.5 generation fighter jets or air defense systems of the 21st century.
              I also never said the Su-35S belongs between stealth fighter jets, but reduction of RCS from 15m2 to approximately 1-2m2 is still better than nothing.

              “not the same level of integrated avionics/sensor fusion”

              You are still forgetting or just ignoring the fact that the Su-35S is one of the youngest and most modern fighter jet currently in service and developed in regard to the 5th generation Western figher jets. Also the fact that the on board systems and sensors of the Su-35S were in development in the same time like those for the Su-57 (PAK FA) and just in recent past unlike the 90’s when the F-22 has been under development, proving that logically the Su-35S can’t be dated and far away of the 5th generation.


              “no AESA radar”

              Yes, but still has the most powerful radar of its kind that in regard to the detection range for air and ground targets isn’t inferior to the AN/APG-77.

              “no advanced flight data link/communications (for example MADL or IFDL)”

              Wrong. The Su-35S uses S-108 and NKVS-27 data communication systems.

              Do you think Russians has no AESA radars currently under development? There is the N036 Byelka for the Su-57 as well as the Zhuk-A for the MiG-35, both are going to serial production within next 2 years so you can expect also some derivatives for the Su-35S, Su-30SM, Su-34 or MiG-29K in the future.


      • It’s not even a ‘has been’, since it’s never been in combat with a credible opponent.

    • Full 3-d articulated engine exhausts, integrated fly by wire between flight controls and engine nozzles, phased array radar, data links with other aircraft. Gen 4+, even ++ is apt.

        • More like you have ZERO knowledge about this, not even the basic one.

          The Su-35S does have LO improvements, performance comparable with the 5th generation and also countermeasures against stealth aircraft. That’s why it is 4++ or 4.5 generation fighter jet.

          “What is new in the Su-35? First off, the fighter will get an improved airframe, which will dramatically increase its service life to 6,000 hours, 30 years of operation…”

          “The improved radar stealth reduces the reflectance of the Su-35 in the X radio waveband and in the angle range of ±60°.”

          “In terms of engineering, the engines are substantially modified AL-31F production engines employing fifth-generation technologies. They use a new fan, new high and low pressure turbines, and a new digital control system. A provision is made for using a vectored thrust nozzle. The modernization has increased the engine special mode thrust by 16%, up to 14,500 kgf. In the maximum burner-free mode it reaches 8,800 kgf.”

          “Irbis-E radar control system detects and tracks up to 30 air targets, retaining continuity of space observation and engaging up to eight targets. The system detects, chooses and tracks up to four ground targets in several map-making modes with various resolution at a range of up to 400 km, without stopping to monitor the airspace.

          Irbis-E radar detects air targets with an absolute cross section of 3 m2 on a head-on course at a range of up to 400 km.”

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