Russian Su-75 Checkmate fighter will cost over $ 30 million

MOSCOW, ($1=74.11 Russian Rubles) – The construction of the fifth generation LTS Checkmate light fighter demonstrator costs about $ 30 million. This information was reported to the Russian newspaper “Interfax” by a source in the United Aviation Corporation [UAC].According to the publication, $ 30 million is the “price of a test aircraft”, while the cost of production of a production car can not yet be determined.

At the same time, the announced price of the “light fighter demonstrator” [in other words, the model presented at the exhibition] is, to put it mildly, surprising.

In the first place, as this figure does not confirm the words of the head of “Rostec” Sergei Chemezov that the cost of a new fighter (not a model or demonstrator) will be about the same 25-30 million dollars. But if the model or demonstrator already costs 30 million, then the finished aircraft will cost the buyer a much larger amount.

Of course, it can be assumed that this price includes the development of the aircraft itself – but this is also very unlikely because then it would reach not tens but hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, according to open sources, the development of the Su-57 costs Russia about 1.65 billion dollars.

From this we can conclude that Russia, trying to encourage potential future buyers of the light fighter “LTS Checkmate”, is too low a price for such an aircraft, is compromised, saying that the layout alone costs the developers $ 30 million – the aircraft, of course, will cost much more.

Finally, given the latest news that the Russian Ministry of Defense will receive only four Su-57 fighters this year, there are doubts about other announced figures for the new Russian aircraft, including the fact that serial deliveries should begin in 2026.

Su-75 Checkmate fighter – features and weapons

1. Su-75 Checkmate is a single-engine stealth fighter. It is assumed that in 2022, before the first test flights, the fighter will receive an engine Izdelie 30. This engine is expected by all Russian aviation, as it is expected to become the main propulsion element of both Su-57 and Su-35 in the future.

2. The first flight will be performed in 2023. This means that in the next nearly a year and a half Russian engineers will test many procedures, as well as all possible systems, but on the ground, not in the air.

3. Su-75 Checkmate will develop speed up to Mach 2 and will have a low radar signature.

4. The armament of the Su-75 Checkmate stealth fighter will be similar to that of the Su-57. According to Yuri Slyusar, the Checkmate fighter can take over the entire range of weapons of the Su-57. This means bombs, air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, anti-ship missiles, electronic warfare systems. Yuri Slyusar confirmed that for close combat the fighter will have a 30 mm automatic cannon. According to him, all armaments will be placed both in the inner compartment of the fuselage and on the hard points of the two wings.

5. The Su-75 Checkmate will have an unmanned version. “We hope that the Russian aerospace forces will show interest in this platform, <…> including [until] its unmanned version,” Slyusar said.

6. If the tests are successful, United Aircraft Corporation Rostec will begin mass production in 2026. As mentioned above, the UAC hopes the first customer will be Russia, which is very likely. According to Yuri Slyusar, the goal is for the company to produce 300 units of this fighter within the next 15 years. This figure is set at least in the business plan for the Su-75 Checkmate.

7. Su-75 Checkmate will be available on the international market. According to Yuri Slyusar, the company has carefully studied potential countries and regions that would be interested, or have given any signal for such, to buy this fighter. According to the company’s executive director, the desired number of 300 fighters includes international customers. It is also rumored [unconfirmed information] that the Su-75 Checkmate will be a budget fighter and a real competitor in the international markets of the American stealth fighter of the fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II.

8. Su-75 Checkmate is not a version of the Su-57 but was developed from the mistakes made by the Russians in developing the Su-57. This was officially confirmed by Yuri Slyusar.

Hypothesis: as it became clear, the first flight is expected in 2023, while serial production is in 2026. This means three years, during which we at assume that a second prototype will be made, which will receive complete armaments, avionics, and radar to be tested in real combat conditions in Syria [if the civil war is not over by then]. The second prototype (or built third) may receive an unmanned version to be tested.

It seems that the Russians’ expectations for the future and efficiency of the Su-75 Checkmate are high. At this early stage, there is no way to conclude or accept as authoritative the statements and comments of those involved in the development of the fighter. The first data and analyzes will come in stages over the next year and a half. Only then will conclusions and analyses of the technical characteristics be made.


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