Algeria has signed a contract to buy 14 Russian Sukhoi Su-57 bombers as the arms race with its neighbour Morocco intensifies, a Moroccan news site reported.
Media outlets quoted Russia’s Sputnik as saying that the government of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune had bought the fighter aircrafts from Russia for nearly $2 billion.
According to reports, Algeria and Russia signed the agreement more than a year after they announced their intention to make the transaction.
The Algerian website Mina Defence reported in 2019 a possible arms deal between Algeria and Russia, while indicating that the reason behind Morocco’s decision to purchase F-16 fighter falcons was Russia’s anticipated deal with Algeria.
The United States, Morocco’s main arms supplier, announced last August that the final steps were completed for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Morocco.
Meanwhile, recent data published by the Center for International Policy (CIP) has shown that Morocco purchases 91% of its arms from the US, more than any other country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Meanwhile, Algeria, Russia’s most loyal arms customer, obtains 67 per cent of its weapons from the Russian military industries and buys the rest from China and Germany.
Mina Defence said that if the rumours about the arms deal are correct, Algeria will become the first country on the southern coast of the Mediterranean to have stealth and fifth-generation fighter aircrafts, after being the first country to acquire fourth-generation fighter jets.
Algeria, which became the 28th strongest military force globally, out of 138 countries in 2020, according to Global Power, seeks to maintain its position by making multiple purchases to modernise and expand its military hardware.