WASHINGTON — The Russian project for a low-cost stealth fighter of the 5th generation Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate is increasingly looking impossible to realize. Maya Carlin, an analyst at the Center for Security Policy, located in Washington D.C. paints an even bleaker future.
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In one of his recent articles, Carlin says that “it appears that the United Arab Emirates has at least paused its involvement in the project, drying up a critical source of funding and R&D.” One of the main reasons for this is Moscow’s contradictory claims. First, they promised the first flight of the Su-75 in 2023, then they extended the deadline to 2024, and at the moment, against the background of the war in Ukraine, there is no prospect of this happening in two years. I.e. the “petrol kings of the Middle East” stop financing the Su-75 at least until its first flight, either in 2023 or 2024. The war with Ukraine is draining the resources of Russia, which is concentrating all its production to power Russian troops at the front. This “cuts” from the entire Su-75 program – be it finance, human resources, material base, or supply of components.
It is the latter that is another reason Carlin suggests why Abu Dhabi is stopping the “financial pipeline” to Moscow. Economic sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine have cut off Russian defense industry access to Western technology, especially in electronics and programming.
The war that Russia is waging with Ukraine is the most suitable pretext for the UAE to show solidarity with the USA. Because Carlin most likely sees another reason for the bad news for Moscow – for Abu Dhabi to finally appease Washington and get the coveted 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jets. A deal that the former host of the White House, Donald Trump, signed literally minutes before handing over power to the current President of the United States, Joe Biden. However, Biden “froze” this deal. Now, the UAE’s non-participation in the Su-75 project and Israel’s already clear support may provide stealth fighter jets to the Emirates.
BulgarianMilitary.com was one of the first media outlets in the world to suggest as early as 2021 that the UAE was the “secret” financial investor in the Russian Checkmate project. In 2017, during the IDEX international defense and security exhibition in Abu Dhabi, the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates announced their joint participation in a new fifth-generation stealth fighter project.
Last but not least, Carlin suggests that two foreign customers for the Su-75 may still exist. Vietnam and India. However, BulgarianMilitary.com experts expressed an opinion a year ago that Argentina is the third country that could be reinforced with this fighter, especially since the United Kingdom continues to influence the sale of advanced weapons technology to the gauchos.
Despite these customers [India and Vietnam], Carlin doesn’t see how this will save the project after the largest and only foreign financial donor stops wasting money on a project in a country that is at war and straining its military production resource.
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