Russia plans to promote its brand new fighter jet, Checkmate, for export by exhibiting it at defense events abroad.
“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 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 Africa, India and Vietnam for export.
Slyusar confirmed 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 that will soon power all Sukhoi Su-57 stealth jets, the top official added.
According to the developers, Checkmate is capable of traveling up to 3,000 km, can reach Mach 2 speeds and can carry 7400 kg of combat load. It will be able to simultaneously attack up to six air, sea and ground targets, including attack drones and foreign fifth-generation aircraft.
Sergei Chemezov, head of Rostec, estimates each Checkmate jet to cost around $ 25-30 million. To reduce its cost, the jet will reportedly be unified with Su-35 and Su-57 fighters.
The volume of deliveries of the fighter for the next 15 years is estimated at 300 aircraft. It will compete with the American F-35 Lightning II and the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen.