At the recent MAKS 2021 Air Show, Russia launched a new 5th generation fighter, the Su-75 Checkmate.
Russia’s Su-75 Checkmate fifth-generation single-engine stealth fighter, with a top speed of Mach 1.8 to Mach 2; with a flight range of 3,000 km and a payload of 7.4 tons. The prototype is expected to have its first flight in 2023, and deliveries will begin in 2026. China’s Shenyang FC-31 is positioned as a medium 5th generation fighter, powered by two engines with 110 kN of thrust each. It has a maximum take-off weight of 28 tons and a maximum combat range of about 1,250 km.
The price of the Su-75 fighter is also very attractive, according to information, the price of this aircraft is only 25-30 million dollars. Meanwhile, the price of each FC-31 is expected to be about $70 million, a price that is not low for a fighter originating from China. The Su-75 Checkmate is also likely to come in an unmanned and two-seat version. Russian officials claim that the Su-75 Checkmate will compete with the US F-35 as well as the new Chinese fighter and other competitors in the international market.
The Su-75 Checkmate is smaller and cheaper than the Russian twin-engined Su-57 heavy stealth fighter. Compared to Su-57, the stealth ability of Checkmate will also be better. Aviation experts say that, from an aerodynamic design perspective, the smaller size of the Su-75 seems to help it have superior stealth capabilities than the Su-57.
As has been revealed, the Checkmate has a vertical V-shaped tail, quite similar to the layout of the F-35; and like the F-35, the Su-75 has a single engine. Likely, the Su-75 Checkmate will be the lightest of the 5th generation fighters, about the same weight as the Swedish JAS-39 Gripen and JF-17 Fierce Dragon, jointly developed by China and Pakistan.
In fact, single-engine fighters make up only a small number of the fighters produced in the world today. Compared to twin-engine fighters, the cost of a single-engine aircraft is lower, maintenance requirements and operating costs are also lower. The Su-75 Fighter jet is expected to face formidable opponents in the export market, especially the US F-35A. But the Checkmate is a lot cheaper, and the maneuverability seems to be better than the American fighter.
The main potential customers of the Su-75 Checkmate include Egypt, Iran, India, Vietnam, Belarus and several other countries in Africa. These countries all have a large number of traditional light or medium fighters, including the F-16, F-4, Mirage 2000 and MiG-29 fighters; or have a tradition of using Soviet/Russian fighters.
For several reasons, the Checkmate may be more attractive as a replacement for the MiG-29. The operating costs and maintenance requirements of the Su-75 Checkmate are likely to be lower than that of the MiG-29. Some former Soviet republics such as Belarus, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan as well as countries such as India, Iran, Syria, Serbia are still using MiG-29 fighters. Checkmate will be a great replacement for the aging MiG-29s.