Russia Releases Photo Of New Single Engine Fighter “The Checkmate”

After several failed attempts to sell its Soviet-era Su-35 and MiG-35 junk to Argentina, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation was in a desperate situation to get back into the market and compete with budget-friendly M-346FA, FA-50, JF-17 Block III and J-10 fighters, Russia needed to go back to the drawing board and build something new.

In recent times, Rostec has lost significant businesses to Dassault Aviation, Airbus, Boeing Company, Saab Group and Leonardo Company in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, UAE, Qatar and Philippines. The competitive market makes it harder for Rostec, United Aircraft Corporation and Rosoboronexport break into Southeast Asia and Middle Eastern markets.

Behold ladies and gentlemen, a Russian next-generation single-engine fighter jet has been spotted at the Zhukovsky International Airport outside Moscow on Thursday, July 15.

The pictures first began to circulate on social media on Jul. 15, 2021, but it is unclear this is a mock-up of a future fighter or real prototype.

Russia’s Rostec has taken the unusual step of releasing a first image of a new light fighter design ahead of its scheduled unveiling at the MAKS air show, after unofficial pictures had appeared online.

“Russia is one of the few countries of the world that possesses full-cycle technologies to produce advanced aircraft systems and is a recognized trendsetter in creating combat planes. We are convinced that the new product developed by UAC specialists will evoke a genuine interest both in our country and in other regions of the world, including among our rivals abroad,” the press office said in a statement.

Also, UAC tweeted: “Everything is easier than it seems. #Checkmate. Something seems to be on the way.”

Some sources said that the new fighter will be called Checkmate.

While the video teaser itself gave little away as to the configuration or capabilities of the aircraft, it alluded to a target export market that includes Argentina, India and Vietnam. In line with this new aircraft being aimed more towards the export market, the video is in English rather than Russian.

Check factory
Checkmate fighter mockup.

Rostec also opened the project’s website, where a countdown of the plane’s debut show on July 20 began overnight to Tuesday, the statement says.

In addition, earlier in May 2021, the TASS news agency reported that the Russian defense industry is developing a next-generation single-engine fighter.

According to TASS, Russian state aerospace company Sukhoi is now developing new light fighter aircraft.

“The Sukhoi company is developing a single-engine light tactical plane with the takeoff weight of up to 18 tonnes. The plane’s maximum speed will be above 2 Mach. It will also have super-maneuverability and improved takeoff and landing performance, thanks to a thrust vector control engine. The plane’s thrust-to-weight ratio will be above 1,” the news agency reported, citing an industry source.

In general, a single-engine aircraft is better in terms of cost and (less) maintenance requirement and Russia plans to develop new light combat aircraft to replace the aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29, MiG-35, Su-24 and Su-25 close air support aircraft.

Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov told reporters in December 2020 that the company was working on the concept of an advanced single-engine light-and medium-class piloted and unmanned combat plane.

“Work is underway to develop a combat aviation system of the future in its light and medium classes. Under the design, this may be a universal platform in the manned and unmanned versions. The company is working on the concept and the operational requirements for such a platform. We are doing this on our own initiative so far, without [federal] budget funds,” the Rostec chief said.

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