The UAE has reportedly shown interest in Russia’s single-engine Checkmate fighter jet and is keen to analyze the stealth aircraft, Head of Rostec Sergei Chemezov said at the Dubai Airshow 2021.
“You have seen the aircraft yourselves. We have developed a nice and good aircraft. The United Arab Emirates has already displayed its interest in it and wants to examine the aircraft more closely and discuss it,” the chief executive told reporters.
“We have one major advantage compared to all the other aircraft. First of all, this is an open configuration aircraft: we are offering a platform that can carry any munition that the customer may desire. Besides, we outfit it with various electronics, electronic warfare systems, target acquisition capabilities and so on,” Chemezov explained.
“And, of course, the price will vary, depending on these options. I hope that the baseline price will be around $30-35 million,” the Rostec chief said.
As EurAsian Times reported, Russia will begin mass-producing Checkmate in 2026, Yury Slyusar, the general director of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) said. “The first flight of the fifth-generation fighter Checkmate is planned for 2023, serial production – in 2026,” Slyusar said.
Meanwhile, simultaneous production of several cutting-edge fighter jets has already been started by a plant in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, in Russia’s Far East region, according to the official.
“The Komsomolsk-on-Amur plant has started building several Checkmate [fighters] at the same time,” Slyusar announced.
On being asked the competitor of the Checkmate, the Rostec chief said – I would say the JF-17, J-10 and F-16 are its rivals but only the F-35 can boast comparable characteristics.
The JF-17 Thunder is a medium-sized multi-role fighter plane designed jointly by China’s Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) while J-10 and F-16 are indigenously developed by China and the US respectively.
Nevertheless, Checkmate is economically more beneficial both in terms of its price and the cost of its flight hour. Also, it can carry a record amount of armaments. That is why I believe that the fighter has good export potential.
“Among single-engine fifth-generation aircraft and machines of previous generations, only Checkmate’s main competitor, the F-35, can boast comparable characteristics. However, unlike the latter, our aircraft is more economical. Let me remind you that the cost of a Checkmate flight hour is seven times lower than that of the F-35,” Chemezov had earlier stated.
The new single-engine fighter is based on stealth technology and is outfitted with an inboard compartment for airborne air-to-air and air-to-surface armaments. The fighter will carry a payload of over 7 tonnes and will be capable of striking up to six targets at a time.
Meanwhile, Rostec for the first time presented an unmanned modification of the Checkmate fighter.
An unmanned version of the aviation complex can be seen in a new video on the YouTube channels of Rostec and the United Aircraft Corporation, the press service informed.
The published footage demonstrates the interaction between the manned and unmanned versions of the aircraft, corresponding to the MUM-T (Manned-Unmanned Teaming) concept.
For the first time, the Checkmate light tactical aircraft was presented at MAKS-2021. The overseas presentation of the fighter took place at the Dubai Airshow 2021.
The new aircraft is expected to have reduced radar visibility and high maneuverability and use elements of artificial intelligence. Its maximum combat load will exceed 7 tonnes and its maximum speed must reach two speeds of sound.