Russia unveils new fighter jet with stealth capabilities and AI features and is intended to compete with the US F-35 Lightning II
- The Sukhoi ‘Checkmate’ was unveiled at a Russian air show attended by Putin
- The fighter jet is set to make its maiden flight in 2023 and boasts AI features
- It can fly at 1.8-2 times the speed of sound and has a range of 1,864 miles
Russia has unveiled a prototype of a new fighter jet featuring stealth capabilities that can cruise at supersonic speed and is set to rival the US F-35 Lightning II fighter.
Vladimir Putin inspected the warplane known as Checkmate at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon today.
Russian aircraft maker Sukhoi developed the new fighter under the LTS program, an acronym for the Light Tactical Aircraft.
Russia has unveiled a prototype of a new fighter jet with the project name The Checkmate featuring stealth capabilities that can cruise at supersonic speed
Vladimir Putin inspected the warplane known as Checkmate at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon today
Its makers said the prototype is set to make its maiden flight in 2023 and deliveries could start in 2026.
They said the new design could be converted to an unpiloted version and a two-seat model.
The new aircraft is smaller than Russia’s latest Su-57 two-engine stealth fighter, also built by Sukhoi, and has one engine.
It can fly at a speed of 1.8-2 times the speed of sound and has a range of 1,864 miles, the jet’s makers said.
Russian state corporation Rostec, which includes Sukhoi and other aircraft makers, has advertised the new plane under the tag Checkmate, an approach apparently intended to underline its superior characteristics.
The new aircraft is smaller than Russia’s latest Su-57 two-engine stealth fighter, also built by Sukhoi, and has one engine
It said the new warplane belongs to the so-called fifth generation of fighter jets, a definition that assumes stealth characteristics and a capability to cruise at supersonic speed, among other advanced features.
Rostec said the new design includes artificial intelligence features to assist the pilot and other innovative technologies. It said the jet was designed to reduce service costs and to be easily adapted to varying customer needs.
The prospective Russian fighter jet appears intended to compete with the US F-35 Lightning II fighter, which entered service in 2015.
Rostec ran an aggressive advertising campaign in the days before the air show, publishing a picture of the new fighter hidden under a black tarpaulin with ‘Wanna see me naked?’ written under it.
Rostec ran an aggressive advertising campaign in the days before the air show, publishing a picture of the new fighter hidden under a black tarpaulin
It also posted a video featuring adulatory customers from India, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Vietnam and other countries, reflecting export hopes.
Plane spotters flocked to Zhukovsky last week to take pictures of the new plane as it was being taxied to a parking spot across the giant airfield which has served as the country’s top military aircraft test facility since Cold War times.
The Kremlin has made modernization of the country’s arsenals a key priority amid tensions with the West that followed Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
Sukhoi Checkmate Fighter
Range: 1,864 miles
Maiden flight: 2023
Top speed: Up to 1,500 miles per hour
Aircraft maker: Sukhoi
US F-35 Lightning II
US F-35 Lightning II
Range: 1,700 miles
Maiden flight: 2015
Top speed: 1,225 miles per hour
Aircraft maker: Lockheed Martin
It also has strongly encouraged the development of new passenger jets to compete with planes built by American aircraft maker Boeing and Europe’s Airbus that currently account for the bulk of Russian carriers’ fleets.
Russia’s airliner programs have encountered delays amid Western sanctions that hampered imports of Western engines and other key components. But the country managed to produce a new engine for the new MS-21 passenger plane, which also was displayed at the show in Zhukovsky.
‘What we saw in Zhukovsky today demonstrates that the Russian aviation has a big potential for development and our aircraft making industries continue to create new competitive aircraft designs,’ Putin said in a speech at the show’s opening.
Putin praised Russia’s aviation industry as he unveiled the biennial MAKS air show earlier Tuesday.
‘Russian aviation has great potential for development, and our aircraft industry continues to create new competitive aircraft,’ Putin said.
Putin has made investing in the army and developing new weaponry a priority over his two-decade rule.
Russia has boasted of developing several weapons that circumvent existing defence systems, including the Sarmat intercontinental missiles and Burevestnik cruise missiles.