This fighter has the designation LTS Checkmate and is a product of the Sukhoi design bureau

According to the images posted by Russian media, the Checkmate fighter has only a single engine, the V-shaped air intake is located below the cockpit. The air intake is divided in two by a short wall in the middle. Russian media said that the aerodynamic design of the LTS fighter will make it extremely maneuverable. The design is reminiscent of the intakes of the X-32, Boeing’s unsuccessful competitor in the Joint Strike Fighter program.

The difference of the LTS is that it does not have a flat wing in the tail. The tail of the plane is designed in a V-shape. This means that the avionics on the plane must be extremely effective, in assisting the pilot with balance and aerobatics. Checkmate’s engine will most likely be the AL-41F3 – also known as “Izdeliye-30”. Checkmate’s maximum take-off weight is said to be around 18 tons. The plane is advertised as being able to reach a speed of Mach 1.8 and a range of 2,800 km without refueling.

Su-LTS Checkmate
Su-LTS Checkmate

Immediately upon launch, many opinions suggested that with the cockpit placed quite low, the pilot would be blinded to the rear. However, the manufacturer affirms that Checkmate has applied the most modern aviation technologies, with a strength close to the 6th generation fighter. The pilot will be greatly supported by intelligent systems, even artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence will help this single-engine light fighter operate as efficiently as a two-seat fighter, even though it only has a single seat. Earlier, many speculations were made, that Russia would develop this new fighter line to equip the Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. However, the LTS launched at MAKS-2021 could not fold the wings. That said, it won’t be a carrier-based fighter, at least for now.

The LTS is said to be significantly smaller and lighter than the Su-57. The two have some similarities, such as the shape of the cockpit canopy. Either side of the forward fuselage are weapon bays for two short-range air-to-air missiles, while three longer-range weapons can be carried in the lower bay. An internal gun is also installed. As with the Lockheed Martin F-35, the LTS is expected to be able to carry weapons on external pylons for non-stealthy operations. Maximum combat load is 7.4 tonnes, including a range of air-to-surface weaponry.

Shortly before the show, Rostec released an English-language teaser video that gave little in the way of detail about the aircraft, but alluded to the fact that the Checkmate is aimed at the export market, with Argentina, India, the UAE, and Vietnam highlighted. The inclusion of the UAE is notable: at the IDEX show held in Abu Dhabi in February 2017, the UAE and Russia announced an agreement on industrial cooperation on defense projects, including the development of a light fighter.

If the LTS is put into service with the Russian Air Force, this will be the country’s first single-engine 5th generation fighter, and directly compete with the US F-35 in the export market.

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