DUBAI, ($1=3.67 AED) – The Checkmate 5th generation light fighter was delivered by cargo plane to Dubai Airshow-2021, where its international debut will take place, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Rostec statement.
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“The prototype of the new Checkmate single-engine fighter has arrived in the UAE to participate in the Dubai Airshow. The aircraft has been delivered to Dubai World Central by An-124 aircraft and is currently being prepared for display at the exhibition,” the press service of Rostec said.
“A promising aviation complex is being demonstrated abroad for the first time. Several closed presentations for potential customers and an open display with the participation of the media are planned,” the state corporation said.
Rostec has distributed a video showing the Checkmate fighter in the pavilion of the Dubai Airshow – the pavilion building is visible in the frames, in the center of the exposition there is a car in a case.
Seven times more economical
The promising Russian fifth-generation fighter Checkmate turned out to be more economical in terms of flight costs compared to its main competitor, the American F-35 fighter.
Such a statement in an interview with the French edition of Le Figaro was made by the general director of Rostec Sergey Chemezov, learned BulgarianMilitary.com. According to him, the cost of one flight hour of a Russian aircraft is seven times lower than that of a US Air Force fighter.
“Among the fifth generation single-engine aircraft and previous generation aircraft, only Checkmate’s main competitor, the F-35, can boast of comparable performance. However, unlike the latter, our plane is more economically profitable,” the head of the state corporation said.
Chemezov noted that the main advantages of Checkmate are low visibility, modern radar, and the ability to change the aircraft to suit the needs of each customer. It is worth recalling that the first foreign presentation of the Russian novelty will take place at Dubai Airshow 2021, which will be held from November 14 to 18.
Why exactly is the UAE the first visit?
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.
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?
Su-75 Checkmate fighter – features and weapons
The United Aircraft Corporation Rostec [UAC] of Russia presented at the International Air Show at MAX-2021 in Zhukovsky a new light and single-engine stealth fighter of the fifth-generation Su-75 Checkmate. The aircraft was officially presented by the CEO and executives of the corporation Yuri Slyusar.
During his presentation, Yuri Slyusar not only hinted but also gave very interesting, somewhat sufficient information about exactly are the company’s intentions regarding the future of the Su-75 Checkmate. We must clarify – the aircraft that was presented at the exhibition is not a model or a demonstrator. He is ready to fly, figuratively speaking. Here is what is known so far:
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 BulgarianMilitary.com 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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