MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia is clearly not giving up on the Su-57 Checkmate fifth-generation light tactical fighter project. Despite the difficulties in its development, as well as its financing, Moscow intends to proceed with a plan that it announced earlier last year. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the Su-75 project is currently almost suspended since a large part of Russian resources is directed to financing the war in Ukraine.
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Against the background of all this, the Russian news agency TASS reported that at the upcoming military exhibition in Aero India 2023, Moscow will present Checkmate. Moreover, according to a source of the agency, Rostec plans to invite India to join the project.
Here is what TASS writes on this occasion: “A delegation of representatives of our aircraft manufacturing companies is coming to Aero India. We plan to discuss cooperation on fifth-generation aircraft. In particular, we intend to invite Indian friends to join the Checkmate light tactical fighter project”
More on Aero India 2023
Aero India 2023 will be held from February 13 to 17 in Bangalore. The forum is international and concerns the technological development and production of products in the field of aerospace engineering. The exhibition has become a traditional event for the Indian industry, being held every two years. In principle, the major military exhibitions in the world are held over two years.
This is not the first time that Russia has participated in this exhibition. It can be said that Russian-Indian relations contrasted very clearly during its conduct. In 2021, for example, the Russian Federation presented over 200 samples of Russian military air equipment.
UAE and Su-75
Russia surprised the world in 2021 when it presented a prototype of the Su-75 at a time when it had already finished testing its Su-57 Felon and was preparing for its serial production. Russia was the first host to introduce the aircraft, and a few months later the UAE was the first foreign host to do the same.
The presence of the UAE as part of the plane’s “presentation tour” was no accident. It was the UAE that, together with Russia, participated in the development of Checkmate. It is said that the UAE will be the first foreign operator of the Su-75. However, the events of the last 12 months have led Abu Dhabi to gradually withdraw from its participation in the project. Perhaps for this reason, today Russia is looking for another partner and sees one in the face of India.
About the aircraft
According to UAC, the developers of Checkmate, the aircraft includes all the most modern developments. This even applies to open architecture, which will more easily allow its upgrades in the future. Rostec says that the Su-75 Checkmate will have artificial intelligence. The aircraft is made using stealth technologies, and it is equipped with an internal fuselage compartment for air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons.
Payload weight exceeds 7 tons. The fighter will be able to hit up to six targets simultaneously. The speed of a single-engine aircraft will be Mach 1.8, and the combat radius – 3 thousand km.
The future of the Su-75
The future of the Su-75 is not rosy at all. Back in September 2022, BulgarianMilitary.com wrote that Russia was looking for a foreign partner for the project. Namely because of the withdrawal of investors from the UAE. They can say that if before the war in Ukraine, the chances of the Su-75 surviving were 50:50, today they are somewhere around 10 percent.
However, with its actions on the battlefield since February, Ukraine has “removed” the Russian Su-75 Chess from the international market of military equipment, and not only it. Even a cheap [supposedly] Su-75 may not sell because it has no combat experience. And the war in Ukraine showed that there are no untouchables, including the Su-27 Flanker, Su-35 Fullback, and Su-35 Flanker E.
Today, buying a brand new fighter with no combat experience is a bigger risk than not having one in the Air Force. Drones and flying munitions change the rules of the game. Again, Ukraine is an example of this. The failure of the Russian Air Force may lead potential customers of the Su-75 to prefer the purchase of ground-based or anti-aircraft defense systems to a “new and unproven” idea of air supremacy.
The second problem
The second problem is spare parts. With the imposed international economic sanctions, the Su-75 at this stage and at this time is impossible to exist. Russia will have to guarantee the maintenance and supply of spare parts.
Even if the war ends now, the cost of the fighter will exceed what was promised. This means an increased supply of components, spare parts, and training. Import restrictions will be the obstacle Moscow will have to contend with.
And what engine will power the fighter? Saturn 30? It is possible, as this engine is expected to be the future of the Su-57 Felon. This raises the third problem.
The third problem
Everyone perceives the Su-75 as a stealth fighter. Logical, given the modern demands of warfare. But at what point did marketing and promotional materials, PR mentions the word “stealth”?
And what engine will power the fighter? Saturn 30? It is possible, as this engine is expected to be the future of the Su-57 Felon. This raises the next question – will the Su-75 be a fifth-generation fighter at all.
Let’s assume that the Russians have solved the stealth technology and engine problem of the Su-57 Felon. However, they still haven’t solved a major problem in the avionics of this aircraft, most likely the Su-75 Checkmate as well. The absolute azimuth.
So far, we know that such technology is integrated only into the American F-35 fighter jets. There is no confirmed information that the Su-57 has a full set of sensitive azimuth sensors. This technology is advanced avionics and Russian R&D has not yet reached its full potential.
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