PANAGYURISHTE, ($1=1.65 Bulgarian Levas) – Nearly two months have passed since mid-July when the Russian state-owned company Rostec introduced to the world the latest Russian stealth fighter of the fifth-generation Su-75 Checkmate. Its appearance was more than unexpected, given that Russia has begun mass production of its long-standing development in this area – Su-57.
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Who, then, is the newest Russian fighter intended for? For Russia? Or for someone else? Many analysts claim that the Su-75 Checkmate is not intended for the Russian market, but directly for export. There is logic in such claims – Russian pilots prefer to fly two-engine fighters, while the Su-75 has only one. Both engines of any Russian fighter give their advantage in close combat – greater maneuverability, greater thrust, therefore faster to reach a certain height.
Russia has a tradition of developing this type of fighter. However, in 2025, when the Su-75 Checkmate is expected to go into series production, Russia will celebrate 50 years since the commissioning of the first Russian single-engine fighter.
Russia is unlikely to buy the Su-75 Checkmate
This is the most widely circulated version in the world at the moment. Preferences for heavier and twin-engine fighters will prevail over the advantage of a lower purchase price, cheaper maintenance, and smaller dimensions.
David Ax writes in his article for Forbes: “It’s no secret that Rostec, the parent company of Russian plane-maker Sukhoi, intends to offer Sukhoi’s new Checkmate fighter to the export market.”
Here is the big picture – at the moment Moscow is not able to start mass production of the Su-75 relying on its funding. Let’s not forget that at the moment on the production lines is the fighter developed in the last decade – Su-57. The Russians realize that the Su-75 is the perfect fighter to take the F-35 of the American company Lockheed Martin off the market. There will be nothing better for the Russians to succeed in this goal, but without outside funding, the existence of the Checkmate program is doomed to failure.
“This Checkmate is facing the same obstacles as the Su-57,” Tom Cooper, an aviation expert and author said. “The Russian government … has no money to complete its development and get it into series production.”
Using the Su-75 for indoor use will have to wait, and maybe it will for more than a decade.
Argentina, Vietnam, India
These are the three countries that are most often mentioned as potential buyers of Checkmate. These three countries also want to bring down the F-35 market leader, but not at any cost. In reality, the three countries are not in conflict with the United States.
But the Su-75 allows them to buy a much cheaper fifth-generation aircraft than the F-35. However, will the Russian quality correspond to that of the F-35? The answer is 50/50. The F-35 has been operating in international markets in this area for years, but in the last 24 months, whether unexpectedly or planned, serious problems have started to appear. We can assume that in one way or another, if the Su-75 wants to remove its American competitor from the market, then its developers have made sure that it meets international requirements.
But Argentina, Vietnam, and India? India seems to have another goal – to develop its next-generation fighter. Many times she gave requests and signals for these intentions, but just as often she sought solutions outside the country.
Either Vietnam spread the word or it leaked elsewhere, but the Asian side is more interested in the Su-57 than the Su-75. This was the case until the last fighter appeared on the market.
The main question, however, is another – who will spend hundreds of millions, even billions of dollars to help the Russians complete the Su-75? Because the one who does it will have a serious advantage in terms of quantity, price, and production time. Is there no fourth player?
The United Arab Emirates is part of the project
Yes. This rumor has been circulating in recent months in international aviation circles. But is it exactly a rumor?
If we go back four years, in 2017 at the international exhibition Index 2017 we will notice that then the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates came out with a message that the two countries are starting work on a project for a fifth-generation stealth fighter, which should be ready in 2025. Too many matches, don’t you think?
According to MilitaryWatch Magazine, a Russian source in the defense industry and close to the publication’s editorial office has confirmed that Abu Dhabi is the “secret” partner of the Russians in the production of the Su-75 Checkmate. He shares that the UAE has the same role as Pakistan when it ordered its JF-17 from China – financing installments during certain periods.
The checkmate could take an advantage over the F-35 even before it began mass production. It is known that the United Arab Emirates ordered an F-35 from the United States in the last weeks of the Donald Trump administration.
At the beginning of his tenure, Joe Biden temporarily froze a deal to sell 50 F-35s to Abu Dhabi, but in April he signaled that he would notify Congress of the sale.
However, as it turns out, the UAE will receive a Russian Su-75 Checkmate in the future. Russia’s development and unveiling of a new fighter class for export without a confirmed client would be a major risk, which is why the report that the Checkmate is indeed the result of the Russia-UAE project makes sense. Of all the countries speculated to show an interest in the fighter, Abu Dhabi is best positioned to have financed and committed to the program. In addition, with no report that the Russia-UAE program was canceled, it would be highly unusual for Russia to develop the Checkmate for export highlighting the UAE as a leading client while at the same time developing another next-generation lightweight fighter jointly with the Arab country.
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