Russia Unveils New ‘Checkmate’ Fighter Plane

Moscow (CNN) – Russian President Vladimir Putin was able to see a sneak peek of a new fifth-generation single-engine light fighter jet at an airshow outside Moscow on Tuesday.

Russian aircraft manufacturers unveiled a prototype of the stealth fighter dubbed “Checkmate” for the 68-year-old leader at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021 in Zhukovsky, ahead of its official unveiling later in the day, according to a statement from Rostec, the state military giant responsible for the export of Russian technology.

Rostec boss Sergey Chemezov and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) CEO Yury Slyusar presented the fighter jet to Putin at the Sukhoi company exhibition hall.

The fighter prototype is unique and has not been developed before in Russia, according to a presentation by the state UAC.

A press release from the UAC said the fighter jet “combines innovative solutions and technologies” and has “low visibility and high flight performance.”

A prototype of Russia’s new Sukhoi “Checkmate” fighter is on display at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS 2021, in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, on July 20.

The company’s director, Slyusar, also touted the aircraft’s characteristics on Russian state television, describing the aircraft as “one of a kind” and adding that they have “a combat radius of 1,500 kilometers, the largest thrust-to-weight ratio. , shortened takeoff and landing, more than seven tons of combat payload, which is an absolute record for aircraft of this class. “

Its first flight is expected in 2023, Russian state media reported, citing a presentation that was shown to the Russian president.

UAC also expects deliveries of the new single-engine fighter to begin in 2026.

Hours earlier, Putin praised Russia’s aviation industry in a speech at the opening of the air show.

“What we see today at Zhukovsky clearly shows that Russian aviation has great potential for development, and our aviation industry continues to create new competitive aircraft,” he said.

Dmitry Stefanovich, a researcher at the Center for International Security, Primakov Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO RAS) in Moscow, told CNN that the Sukhoi fighter jet’s focus will likely be on export and military-technical cooperation with others. countries.

“This is a revolutionary offering on the market,” Stefanovich said. “It has been a long time since Russia tested single-engine fighters. For a long time, there have been no new Russian light combat aircraft on the market. And not a fifth generation as such.”

Countries like the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Vietnam and India may be the first to queue up to sign contracts with Russia for the new plane, according to Stefanovich.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that it had tested its Tsirkon hypersonic missile from the Admiral Grigorovich frigate in the White Sea, hitting a land target in the Barents Sea more than 200 miles away.

“This is not a coincidence,” Stefanovich said. “Russia shows in practice that it remains a very serious force in the development and production of advanced missile systems.”

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