Russia's Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate Stealth Fighter Could Fly for India

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February 5, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: Su-75Su-75 CheckmateRussiaIndiaMilitary

Russia's Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate Stealth Fighter Could Fly for India

The Su-75 Checkmate, a derivative of the Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name "Felon"), reportedly incorporates the latest systems, including its open architecture configuration to meet the customer’s requirements and unique artificial intelligence technologies.

Is Russia Looking to Woo India to the Su-75 Checkmate - Moscow is continuing to seek interested foreign buyers for its highly-touted Sukhoi Su-75 "Checkmate" fighter aircraft. Among the interested parties could be India, and it was reported that the state-owned military-industrial conglomerate Rostec was even ready to slash costs "as per feedback" from New Delhi.

Though India is currently developing its own advanced combat aircraft via its Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) program, Russia has set its sights on finding an international partner for the Checkmate. The Su-75 was among the aircraft that the Russian delegation presented at this month's World Defense Show 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Sukhoi Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) within Rostec, first unveiled the Checkmate light tactical fighter at the MAKS 2021 international air show outside of Moscow. The export model was then introduced at the Dubai Airshow 2021 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Since that time, Rostec has tried to line up international partners with no takers.

It would appear that Moscow is hoping that India will express renewed interest in the Checkmate.

The Su-75, a derivative of the Sukhoi Su-57 (NATO reporting name "Felon"), 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.

Strong Sales for Other Russian Hardware

Though the Checkmate hasn't found significant interest, Moscow has continued to find foreign buyers for many of its other platforms. This has come despite Western sanctions that were imposed following Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine nearly two years ago.

"Restrictions of Western countries are demonstrations of dishonest competition and our partners clearly understand it. Naturally, after a massive economic attack on Russia and its military-industrial complex in 2022, some customers were confused as it happened for the first time in history," Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev told state media outlet TASS. "However, we rapidly streamlined the interaction mechanisms with an all-round support of the president of the country, state bodies of authority and financial organizations."

In 2023, Rosoboronexport "cooperated" with 30 countries, which corresponds to the average figure in the past ten years, it was also reported.

"We have signed contracts worth over 12 billion dollars also for the latest Russian arms," added Mikheyev.

India Pivoting Away From Russia

There may be more at stake for Moscow than just the Su-75 – as India has been seeking to distance itself from what has been its largest arms supplier.

As Reuters reported last month, the world's largest arms importer has been slowly turning towards the West as the United States has looked to strengthen ties with New Delhi as part of Washington's efforts to contain an ascendant China.

Russia supplied 65% of India's weapons purchases of more than $60 billion during the last two decades, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. India is also expected to spend nearly $100 billion on defense in the next decade.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned his focus to domestic production with Western technology, which is seen to better fit with Modi's "Make in India" program.

However, it could require a careful balancing act for India, which wouldn't want to see Moscow move closer to Beijing. That could suggest that India may seek to partner with the West on some programs, while entirely ditching Russia. Whether the Checkmate fits into the game India is playing may require looking many moves ahead.

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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].

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