- Russia has unveiled a prototype for a new fighter jet, currently nicknamed the ‘Checkmate’.
- Putin personally inspected the aircraft design at an air show on Tuesday.
- The Russian president praised the creation as an example of the prowess of the Russian aviation industry.
- See more stories on Insider’s company page.
Russia officially unveiled a prototype of a stealthy new fighter on Tuesday, while Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrated his country’s aviation industry and the development of new competitive aircraft designs.
The fighter, which has no name but is being developed under the project name “Checkmate”, was unveiled at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon in Zhukovsky. The plane was held in a hangar with the word “Checkmate” in English, according to AFP.
The unveiling of the new single-engine fighter jet follows the publication of an unusual teaser photo by Russian state defense conglomerate Rostoc last week and state media reported in the spring of this year that Sukhoi Aircraft Company was working on a light tactical fighter jet that can fly at supersonic speeds with low perceptibility.
—Rostec (@RostecRussia) July 15, 2021
“What we are now seeing in Zhukovsky clearly shows that Russian aviation has high development potential,” Putin, who personally inspected the new plane on Tuesday, said in a speech at the start of the air show, according to state media. “Our aircraft industry also continues to create new competitive aerospace equipment.”
—Rob Lee (@RALee85) July 20, 2021
Citing Oleg Panteleyev, the executive director of Aviaport Aviation News Agency, the state-run Tass News Agency recently suggested that the new light-to-medium jet fighter could rival the US’s fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. army .
Panteleyev seems to have referred to competition in foreign markets rather than capacity.
It’s not clear exactly how Russia’s new “Checkmate” fighter — which Russian state media has reported will be unobtrusive, have a high thrust-to-weight ratio, have a large payload of weapons and carry advanced armaments — would fare. can relate to the American fifth-generation aircraft.
Russia currently has a number of capable fourth-generation fighters, but only one fifth-generation fighter, the heavy Sukhoi Su-57.
The new fighter jet, touted as a fifth-generation light aircraft, is said to have a maximum speed of about Mach 2, a range of about 1,800 miles and a payload of about 16,000 pounds, the Associated Press reported, citing it. company behind the new design.
In addition, the design can be reconfigured from a single-seat aircraft to a two-seat aircraft or set up for unmanned operations, the creator said.
The aircraft was designed by Sukhoi, part of the Rostoc conglomerate, for the Light Tactical Aircraft program. It is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023, with fielding from 2026.
A teaser promotional video released by Rostoc ahead of the new jet’s unveiling featured a roster of multinational pilots, suggesting Russia might consider exporting the new fighter jet abroad.
Russian officials, the AP reported, have expressed their intention to sell the jet and said foreign buyers have already expressed interest. The head of Rostoc, who estimates the plane will cost about $25-30 million, has said the Russian armed forces are also expected to place an order for the new jet.