Home WORLD-NEWS Photos: Meet ‘Checkmate’, Sukhoi’s sleek new fifth-generation jet fighter at half the...

Photos: Meet ‘Checkmate’, Sukhoi’s sleek new fifth-generation jet fighter at half the cost of an F-35


On Tuesday, Russia’s Sukhoi aircraft design bureau unveiled a sleek new jet fighter intended to rival Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Based on technology from his Su-57 fighter, Sukhoi has named the new fighter “Checkmate”.

A prototype of the Checkmate fighter was the opening act of the MAKS-2021 air show at Zhukovsky Airport southeast of Moscow, which will run from July 20-25 and of which Sputnik is the official media partner. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the exhibition on the opening day.

© Sputnik / Alexey Maishev

Russia MAKS Airshow Checkmate Fighter

© Sputnik / Evgeny Biyatov

Prototype of the fifth generation Checkmate fighter at the MAKS air show, showing the four tail surfaces and the single engine of the aircraft, which is unusual for Russian aircraft.

The Checkmate is intended for export and the promotional video released a day before the expo featured interested figures from the United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam and Argentina.

“It will indeed target African countries, India and Vietnam. The demand for these planes is quite high, it is estimated that at least 300 planes will arrive in the near future,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said during the presentation on Tuesday. Sukhoi expects to start deliveries within six years.

Also at the presentation, Rostec chief Sergei Chemezov said the Checkmate would cost about $25-30 million each, which is just a fraction of the price of some advanced European jet fighters like the Dassault Rafale and Saab Gripen, not to mention Lockheed’s. F-35.

“Why were we able to make this aircraft so fast? We used the Su-57 developments,” Chemezov explained, noting that the single-engine jet engine and the aircraft’s electronic systems were among those things.

© Sputnik / Alexey Maishev

A prototype of Russia’s new Sukhoi Checkmate Fighter is on display at the MAKS 2021 International Aviation and Space Salon, in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia. Missiles on display include the R-73 and R-77 anti-aircraft missiles and the Kh-59MK anti-ship missile.

The fighter jet clearly draws on the Su-57, Russia’s first fifth-generation fighter jet, as well as in other ways, including the retractable turret and internal weapons bay – a standard for minimizing visibility on enemy radars. A display near the jet suggests some of its future weapons, including the R-73 heat-seeking anti-air missile, the R-77 active radar-homing anti-air missile, and the Kh-59MK anti-ship cruise missile, meaning it can be used for both air superiority and surface attack missions.

The Checkmate will also be able to deploy rocket-shaped drones from its internal weapons bay, according to the presentation. The fighter will be able to reach speeds of up to Mach 2.2 and an altitude of 54,000 feet.

As a fifth-generation aircraft, the Checkmate will have greatly reduced radar visibility, vectorized thrust or “super maneuverability,” and likely supercruise, meaning it would be able to reach supersonic speeds without having to use the gas-guzzling afterburner.

Notable differences from the Su-57 include the single engine, which will make the Checkmate much lighter but also unable to recover from burnout; the single diverterless supersonic inlet mounted under the nose; and the four angled tail surfaces, which give it a profile reminiscent of the failed YF-23 Black Widow, a competitor design for the aircraft the Pentagon later adopted as the F-22.

© Sputnik / Alexey Maishev

Russia MAKS Airshow Checkmate Fighter

The two Northrop-McDonnell Douglas YF-23 prototypes in flight. The plane on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force is the darkest on the right.

Russia has not launched a single-engine fighter jet in over 50 years, since the Su-22 and MiG-27 both entered service in 1970.

Notably, his name, Checkmate, has been left untranslated from English, even into Russian, where the winning move of a chess game is called ‘shakh-i-mat’. That leaves little doubt as to who the recipient of the message is.

While the US has refused to sell its advanced F-22 Raptor fighter to other countries, the jet’s sister aircraft, the F-35, has been sold to several, including many NATO allies, as well as US partners such as Israel and the United States. Arab Emirates. Checkmate is thus Moscow’s winning answer to the proliferation of F-35s around the world.

However, Washington has tried to frustrate the sale of advanced Russian military hardware to other countries through punitive measures such as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which the US uses to impose sanctions on the buyers of the equipment. Targeted systems include the Su-35 fighter and S-400 air defense system.



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