Russian aircraft makers will present a prospective new fighter jet at a Moscow air show 2021 that opens next week.
The new warplane hidden under a tarpaulin was photographed being towed to a parking spot across an airfield in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, where the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon opens Tuesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to visit the show’s opening.
Russian media reports said that the Sukhoi aircraft maker built a new prototype or mockup of a light tactical fighter.
Unlike Russia’s latest Su-57 two-engine stealth fighter, the new aircraft is smaller and has one engine.
The Su-57 has failed to attract foreign buyers and India withdraw from the joint development of the Su-57 PAK FA project. From the beginning of the PAK FA project, the Indian Air Force criticized Su-57 for not being a fifth-generation and does not possess the attributes of a fifth-generation fighter.
The new light combat aircraft’s name is unknown, and there is no information about its capability and deployment prospects.
The prospective Russian fighter jet appears to compete with the Chinese FC-31 fighter. Russia hopes to offer the new aircraft to foreign customers for $70 million apiece to India, China, Vietnam and Argentina.
Rostec, the state corporation that includes Russian aircraft makers, said the “fundamentally new military aircraft” will be unveiled Tuesday at the Moscow air show. “Russia is one of the few countries in the world with full-cycle capacities for producing advanced aircraft systems, as well as a recognized trendsetter in the creation of combat aircraft,” it said.
Following the Rostec announcement, Russian plane spotters rushed to Zhukovsky to take pictures of the new plane — an eerie parallel with Cold War times when Western spies tried to get a glimpse of the latest Soviet warplanes at the tightly-guarded airfield that served as the country’s top military aircraft test facility.
In a bid to raise public interest before the presentation, Rostec published a picture of the new plane covered by tarpaulin with “wanna see me naked?” written under it. It also posted a brief video featuring excited foreign customers and the jet’s vague shadow over the water.
Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea insisted the Defender wasn’t fired upon and said it was sailing in Ukrainian waters.
The Kremlin has made modernization of the country’s armed forces a top priority amid a bitter strain in relations with the West, which have sunk to post-Cold War lows after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s the Crimean Peninsula, accusations of Russian interference in elections, hacking attacks and other irritants.
The new aircraft is yet to be produced, Rostec didn’t elaborate the roadmap of the aircraft neither it discloses the status of the aircraft, either a full-fledged prototype or a mockup.
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