Russia plans to promote its brand new fighter jet, Su-75 Checkmate, for export by exhibiting it at defense events in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Kenya and Gambia, reported Russian Vedomosti newspaper.
Some of these African countries are already customers of Russian aircraft. Algeria is the major buyer of Russian arms, but Algeria refused to buy Checkmate light combat aircraft as its discord Moroccan Air Force fly American high-tech F-16V Block 70 aircraft with AESA radar and Viper Shield.
Sergei Chemezov, head of Rostec, estimates each Checkmate jet to cost around $ 25-30 million. To reduce its cost, the jet will reportedly be fitted with AL-41F engine, Irbis-E phased array radar, avionics and cockpit of Su-35 aircraft. The Checkmate will not be fitted with EW or self-protection suite to attract budget friendly customers.
“Judging by the visits by delegations to the pavilion at MAKS Airshow, (we know that) the interest (in the Checkmate) is very great. And, of course, we will now carry this plane to exhibitions in Africa if they return to their usual offline mode,” Yuri Slyusar, head of state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), said in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper.
Russia is targeting countries of African countries for potential export of the aircraft. Russian previously depended on Indian funds to develop Su-57 and the development of Su-57 was hindered by Indian withdrawal from the program. The Western sanctions also hinder development of the Russian aircraft and foreign sales of the aircraft.
Slyusar expects that the new aircraft will make its first flight in 2023. Serial deliveries will begin in 2026.
When asked whether the Russian Ministry of Defense would order these jets, he said, “This aircraft has two-seat version as well as optionally manned and unmanned versions. We hope that this approach and modifications of our key customer will be of interest.”
Checkmate may be equipped with the Second Stage Izdeliye 30 (Item 30) engine once the engine is in series production, the top official added.
According to the developers, Checkmate is capable of traveling up to 2,000 km, can reach Mach 2 speeds and can carry 7400 kg of combat load. It will be able to attack up to six air, sea and ground targets.
Sukhoi aims to delivers estimated 300 Su-75 fighter jets for the next 15 years replacing MiG-29, MiG-29M2 and MiG-35 of Russia and other air forces.
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