March 9 (UPI) -- The Kremlin plans to buy 10 new Sukhoi Su-35S fighter aircraft in 2017, a top Russian defense official disclosed to state-controlled media.
Russia's aircraft procurement plans for the year were discussed by First Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov during an interview with the TASS news agency.
"Last year we concluded a long-term contract for building Sukhoi-35S planes," he said. "This year we expect ten newly-built Sukhoi-35S fighters and another four Sukhoi-27s upgraded to match the Sukhoi-35 capabilities."
Borisov went on to praise the plane's combat prowess, saying Russia's pilots have a highly positive opinion of the jet. The platform has been used to support the Kremlin's military operations in Syria, which officials say is meant to root out extremist militants from the region.
"[The Su-35S] was baptized by fire in Syria to have displayed excellent capabilities," Borisov added.
The Su-35S is a modernized version of Russia's legacy Su-35. Sukhoi, the plane's manufacturer, says the jet employs technology comparable to 5th-generation aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II used by the United States and several of its allies.
Russia's defense ministry showcased the aircraft's maneuverability in a video released in February.