The mass production of Russia’s Su-75 Checkmate fighter jet— a single-engine, fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft under development by Sukhoi for export and for the Russian Aerospace Forces—is slated to start 2025 or 2026, according to Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov.
“As far as I remember, flight tests will start in 2023, the serial production in case of demand—hopefully, there will be demand because this plane has a number of features of a fifth-generation jet … will start in 2025-2026, I think this is a realistic time frame,” he told the media during a recent Oil and Gas Forum in the western Siberian city of Tyumen.
Borisov also noted that Russia’s Defense Ministry may consider the purchase of the fighters under a future state program for armaments.
“Under a future state program for armaments the Defense Ministry and the Aerospace Force may consider the possibility of purchasing this fighter,” he said.
“This is a major export potential factor. Foreign customers are always keen to know if the country’s national armed forces use the military technologies that are on offer for export,” he continued, adding that the Defense Ministry and the Aerospace Force had been “historically cautious” regarding single-engine fighters, with them often preferring twin-engines due to reliability issues.
Big Hopes for Checkmate
It was in July, with President Vladimir Putin on hand, when Russia officially unveiled Checkmate at the MAKS-2021 air show in Moscow. As reported in Popular Mechanics, the fighter jet comes with an “unusually pointy nose and an engine intake below the cockpit,” in addition to an “internal weapons bay designed to preserve its anti-radar shaping and can carry both air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance, including both infrared- and radar-guided air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles, guided and unguided bombs, and unguided rockets.”
This particular aircraft is also known to boast a combat radius of more than nine hundred miles and a top speed of nearly twelve hundred miles per hour. The first Checkmate is expected to take flight in 2023, but it comes with a hefty price tag of $25 million to $30 million.
Taking Aim at F-35
According to the same publication, “Sukhoi, in a dig against the F-35, says the Checkmate is capable of ‘continuous supersonic flight’—a nod to last year’s revelation the F-35 can only fly supersonic for fifty seconds before possibly damaging the plane. Sukhoi claims its aircraft is capable of 8G maneuvers.”
The Sukhoi Su-57, developed by a Moscow-headquartered aerospace company, is a stealth-capable fighter jet that is the outcome of the Russian Air Force’s PAK FA fifth-generation fighter jet program. It is known to make broad use of a variety of composite materials that enable it to efficiently evade detection on most enemy radars.
Meanwhile, the F-35 is known as the most lethal and versatile aircraft of the modern era. Former Defense Secretary James Mattis once even called the F-35 “critical” for America’s air superiority and applauded its ability to integrate seamlessly with allies who have purchased the jet.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.