Why did Russia cancel the SU-57 a game-changer ?

They can’t afford it.

Let’s be clear, they absolutely want it, but they just can’t pay for it.

Click on the picture for the video

Damien Leimbach, USAF avionics technician

Russia/USSR has always relied heavily on export sales to pay for their domestic defence programs.

That market has been weak for them lately, so they are forced to rely more and more upon their natural gas exports for cash. Their economy would likely crash without it, which is one of the reasons Syria is so important to them.

The SU-57 was supposed to be developed jointly with the Indian AF. India grew impatient with the SU-57’s long development cycle, and the fact that the Russians never really got the engines developed properly for the plane and that it didn’t have 360 deg stealth. So they cancelled their orders. It’s not a coincidence that less than a year later, with only nine prototypes built (and none for the Indians) that the entire program was shelved.

Which brings us around to the other reason Syria is important.

It’s a showcase for the Russian military to put their hardware on display and test it in combat conditions. They just had their first combat drop of a PGM (precision guided munitions/smart-bomb) there in 2015. And I don’t mean the first one in Syria, I mean the first one ever. They are also cycling as many crews and troops through there as possible to gain experience. Makes you wonder what they think they need all that experience for.