Russia unveils new “Checkmate” stealth fighter jet at airshow

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Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the recently unveiled “Checkmate” fighter plane on Tuesday.

The prototype of the fifth-generation Sukhoi stealth fighter was unveiled at the MAKS-2021 international aviation and space show, Reuters reported. The show opened on Tuesday in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.

The fifth generation refers to the stealth characteristics of the jet, its ability to cruise at supersonic speed as well as artificial intelligence to aid pilots, among other advanced features.

“What we saw in Zhukovsky today demonstrates that Russian aviation has great potential for development and that our aviation industries continue to create new, competitive aircraft designs,” Putin said in a speech at the show. .

The jet was designed to reduce service costs. “Our aim is to make the cost per flight hour as low as possible, to make it economical not only to purchase but also to operate,” said Yury Slyusar, director of the United Aircraft Corporation in Russia, according to Reuters.

A prototype of the future Russian fighter jet is on display at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Exhibition in Zhukovsky, outside Zhukovsky, Russia, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Russia presented a prototype of a new fighter aircraft with stealth capabilities and other features and will be offered to overseas customers.  Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the new warplane on display at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Show.  (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
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A prototype of the future Russian fighter jet is on display at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Exhibition in Zhukovsky, outside Zhukovsky, Russia, on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Russia presented a prototype of a new fighter aircraft with stealth capabilities and other features and will be offered to overseas customers. Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the new warplane on display at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Show. (AP Photo / Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

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It is expected to be airworthy by 2023 and the country plans to produce 300 of these fighters over 15 years from 2026, according to Reuters.

Oleg Panteleyev, head of Russian analysis agency Aviaport, said the fighter jet could be a rival to the US F-35 stealth fighter.

“We must join other countries which sell such planes,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Denis Manturov after mentioning other similar foreign planes.

The price of the jet will be between $ 25 million and $ 30 million, Rostec, the state-owned aerospace conglomerate, said, adding that it expected buyers from the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, according to Reuters.

Rostec said the Russian Air Force should also place an order for the new fighter.

The designers said the new design could be converted to an unmanned version and a two-seater model.

The future warplane, marketed as Project Checkmate, has one engine and is designed to be smaller and cheaper than Russia’s latest twin-engine stealth fighter Su-57, also built by Sukhoi. It can fly at a speed of 1.8 to 2 times the speed of sound, has a range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles) and a payload of 7,400 kilograms (16,300 pounds), the manufacturers said. ‘plane.

Sales of warplanes accounted for the bulk of Russian arms exports, but the twin-engine Su-30 and Su-35 fighters face increasing competition in global markets.

Rostec launched an aggressive advertising campaign in the days leading up to the air show, posting a photo of the new hunter hidden under a black tarp with “Do you want to see me naked? written below. He also posted a video featuring adorable customers from India, UAE, Argentina, Vietnam and other countries, reflecting export hopes.

The Kremlin has made modernizing the country’s arsenals a key priority amid tensions with the West that followed Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.

The unveiling comes a day after Russia warned Washington not to deploy hypersonic missiles in Europe.

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“We would like to remind @PentagonPressSec that the potential deployment of any [American flag] hypersonic [missile] in Europe would be extremely destabilizing, “the Defense Ministry tweeted.” Their short flight time would leave [Russian flag] little or no decision time and increase the likelihood of inadvertent conflict. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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