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The single-engine budget “fifth-generation” light tactical fighter was first unveiled at the 2021 MAKS Air Show outside of Moscow.
It was designed to be a low-cost export aircraft to compete with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II and Shengyang FC-31.
Yet, despite early hype, the aircraft has been described as little more than vaporware in recent reports – and it almost seemed that Russia would be forced to admit it was facing a “Check Mate” for the program.
Instead, it looks as if Moscow is trying a final gambit as a Russian delegation will head to the Aero India 2023 International Air Show with plans to discuss potential collaboration with India in developing the fighter.
“A delegation of representatives of our aircraft-building companies will attend the Aero India air show. We plan to discuss cooperation in fifth-generation aircraft. In particular, there is the intention to invite our Indian partners to join the Checkmate light tactical fighter project,” a source close to the Russian state-owned Rostec conglomerate told Tass on Tuesday.
The Aero India 2023 International Air Show is scheduled to take place in Bangalore on February 13-17. The initial show took place in 1996. It is now held every other year and has grown to become the largest air show in Asia.
Russia has been a long-standing active participant and featured more than 200 military products at Aero India 2021.
Finding Support for the Su-75
Rostec first unveiled the latest domestic single-engine fighter, a derivative of the Sukhoi Su-57 dubbed Checkmate, at the MAKS-2021 International Air Show. Its foreign rollout was held later that year at the Dubai Airshow 2021 in the United Arab Emirates.
The aircraft reportedly incorporates the latest systems, including its open architecture configuration to meet the customer’s requirements and unique artificial intelligence technologies.
Rostec has also claimed the single-engine stealth fighter will be outfitted with an inboard compartment for airborne air-to-air and air-to-surface armaments, while it could carry a payload of over seven tons and will be capable of striking up to six targets at a time.
The Checkmate fighter will be capable of flying at Mach 1.8 (1.8 times the speed of sound) and will have an operating range of 3,000 km.
Russia has claimed four prototypes are being developed, but according to past reports, the Checkmate won’t make its maiden flight until at least sometime next year. Last October, Rostec head Sergey Chemezov told Kremlin officials that production would start in 2027 rather than 2025 as previously expected.
Russia had sought to find potential foreign buyers – as well as developmental partners – for the Su-75 Checkmate. In November 2021, Rostec held talks with Emirati businesses to co-produce the Checkmate, but less than a year later, the UAE pulled out of the program, which likely dried up a critical source of funding.
It now appears that Rostec has managed to find another move for the Checkmate, but this may be its final one.
Author Experience and Expertise
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.