Russia's Su-75 Checkmate Stealth Fighter Is On Thin Ice

Su-75 Checkmate
February 2, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaSu-75Su-75 CheckmateStealthMilitaryDefenseAviation

Russia's Su-75 Checkmate Stealth Fighter Is On Thin Ice

The highly-touted Russian Sukhoi Su-75 "Checkmate" could still be years from making its first flight, but it seems that Moscow continues to seek foreign buyers for its bargain basement "fifth-generation" fighter.

Russia is Making its Next Move With the Su-75 Checkmate: The highly-touted Russian Sukhoi Su-75 "Checkmate" could still be years from making its first flight, but it seems that Moscow continues to seek foreign buyers for its bargain basement "fifth-generation" fighter.

The state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) announced on Friday that its Checkmate Su-75 and MiG-35 jets would be presented at the upcoming World Defense Show 2024 in Saudi Arabia – scheduled to begin on Sunday.

"The United Aircraft Corporation will arrange its image exposition. Visitors will see the products of the corporation, in particular Su-75 Checkmate and MiG-35 aircraft," the company said in a statement, according to a report from Tass.

This has been the first update on the Checkmate in several months.

It was last year that the Kremlin announced that it would produce some 300 aircraft over the next 15 years and that several prototypes were being manufactured at the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant, where the Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name "Felon") is manufactured. However, how far along those prototypes are remains unclear.

It was more than a year and a half ago that Deputy Minister of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov told reporters that the first flight of the Su-75 won't likely occur until the summer of 2023. Of course, the flights didn't occur last year, and no date for the aircraft's maiden flight in 2024 has been announced.

Su-75 Checkmate Facts

The Su-75, a derivative of the Su-57, reportedly incorporates the latest systems, including its open architecture configuration to meet the customer’s requirements and unique artificial intelligence technologies. UAC subsidiary Rostec has also claimed the single-engine stealth fighter will be outfitted with an inboard compartment for airborne air-to-air and air-to-surface armaments, while it could carry a payload of over seven tonnes and will be capable of striking up to six targets at a time.

The Checkmate fighter will reportedly be capable of flying at Mach 1.8 (1.8 times the speed of sound) and will have an operating range of 3,000 km. Its design is typical of a fifth-generation fighter, with diverterless supersonic inlets, internal weapons bays, and radar-absorbent coating all designed to reduce radar cross-section (RCS) and make the Checkmate a stealthy fighter. Inside, the cockpit appears to be laid out almost identically to the Su-57. Its avionics include active electronically scanned array radar, a must in modern fighters as well as open architecture code which greatly eases the update process.

The recent report from Tass also reported that the Su-75 features an open architecture and unique artificial intelligence technologies, and can simultaneously attack six targets. The UAC has patented three modifications: one-seat, double-seat, and unmanned.

Su-75

The first development batch is now reported to begin production in 2026.

Despite the hype, in January 2022, John V. Parachini, senior international defense researcher and former director of RAND Research Institute's Intelligence Policy Center, suggested that the Checkmate was little more than vaporware marketing – referencing software and hardware that never materializes after being introduced often with much fanfare.

Su-75

Moscow has also gone to great lengths to find foreign buyers – as well as developmental partners – for the Su-75 Checkmate. In November 2021, Rostec even held talks with Emirati businesses to co-produce the Checkmate, but less than a year later, the UAE pulled out of the program, which likely dried up a critical source of funding.

Last year, the aircraft was presented at the Aero India 2023 International Air Show, and plans were announced to discuss potential collaboration with India in developing the fighter. However, it appeared that New Delhi had little to no interest in partnering on the program.

Su-75

It would appear that the UAC is trying another move to stir up interest for the Checkmate.

Author Experience and Expertise: Peter Suciu

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu. You can email the author: [email protected].