Russia unveils its new “Checkmate” fighter jet

Russian aircraft manufacturers unveiled a prototype of the stealth fighter dubbed “Checkmate” for the 68-year-old leader at the MAKS-2021 international aviation and space show in Zhukovsky, ahead of its official unveiling later in the day, according to a statement from Rostec, the state-owned military giant responsible for exporting Russian technology.

Rostec chief Sergey Chemezov and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) general director Yury Slyusar presented the combat aircraft to Putin at the exhibition pavilion of the Sukhoi company.

The fighter prototype is unique and has never been developed before in Russia, according to a presentation by state-owned UAC.

A UAC press release said the fighter jet “combines innovative solutions and technologies” and has “low visibility and high flight performance”.

Company chief Slyusar also touted the plane’s specs on Russian state television, describing the planes as “unique in their class” and adding that they had “a combat radius of 1,500 kilometers , the greatest thrust-to-weight ratio, shortened take-off and landing, more than seven tons of combat load, which is an absolute record for aircraft of this class.”

Its first flight is scheduled for 2023, Russian state media reported, citing a presentation made to the Russian president.

The UAC also expects deliveries of the new single-engine fighter to begin in 2026.

Earlier in the day, Putin praised Russia’s aviation industry in a speech at the opening of the air show.

“What we see today in Zhukovsky clearly shows that Russian aviation has great potential for development and that our aviation industry continues to create new competitive aircraft,” he said.

Dmitry Stefanovich, a researcher at the Center for International Security, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS) in Moscow, told CNN that the Sukhoi fighter will likely focus on export and cooperation military-technical with other countries. .

“This is a game-changing offering in the market,” Stefanovich said. “It has been a long time since Russia demonstrated single-engine fighters. For a very long time there has been no new Russian light combat aircraft on the market. And no fifth generation as such. “

Countries like the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Vietnam and India could be the first to line up to sign contracts with Russia for the new jet, according to Stefanovich.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had tested its Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the Admiral Grigorovich frigate in the White Sea, hitting a land target in the Barents Sea more than 200 miles away.

“It’s no coincidence,” Stefanovich said. “Russia demonstrates in practice that it remains a very serious force in the development and production of advanced missile systems.”

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