Sukhoi is developing a new single-engine stealth fighter, referred to by its builders as ‘Checkmate’.

The aircraft is reportedly to debut at the MAKS airshow in Moscow next week.

It is not known yet whether this aircraft will be primarily designed for export but should it enter Russian service, it could complement the twin-engine Su-57, pictured below.

Russia nets a special Su-57 fighter jet for Christmas - Asia Times

This might be a viable option for Russia, according to David Axe writing in Forbes here:

“The Su-57—a heavy, complex plane—apparently is expensive. How expensive is unclear, but it’s worth noting that the smaller F-35, which Lockheed Martin produces at a rate of around 140 a year, costs around $100 million including the engine.

Moscow has ordered 78 Su-57s, but production has been slow and just a handful of the jets are in service. Checkmate, in theory, could complement the Su-57 and help the Russian air force to field a “high-low” mix of twin- and single-engine stealth fighters. That’s what the U.S. Air Force is doing—acquiring hundreds of F-35s to complement 180 or so twin-engine F-22s.”

Plane spotters have had glimpses of the new aircraft, which is kept at the Zhukovsky International Airport, the venue of MAKS. The aircraft could be be seen hidden under a black tarpaulin.

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farouk
farouk
3 months ago

The most interesting thing about this plane is it is said to closely resemble the Boeing X32 which lost out to the F35 in the joint strike fighter competition :
X32 on the left, F35 on the right. No doubt more will be revealed on Tuesday

X-32_X-35_Edwards.jpg
dan
dan
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Boeing really dropped the ball on the JSF competition. Just an awful attempt at a stealthy fighter.

Boris S.
Boris S.
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Yes, it’s not often you merely see a picture of a plane and think “no”. But this was one of those cases.

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky
3 months ago
Reply to  Boris S.

Boeing has seriously lost the plot in so many directions especially in Space presently, it would be in serious trouble if the Govt wasn’t forced to support it with contracts it really doesn’t want to give economically but has little choice strategically in providing as it’s far too important a defence business to fail. Pitiful ability to deliver anything on time, technical, budget or to specification, the Starliner program is nothing short of a joke, a dangerous one at that on all those grounds.

Something Different
Something Different
3 months ago
Reply to  Boris S.

The f32 looks like a stealth version of a 50s or 60s ungainly concept aircraft that made it to the prototype stage but ended up being a technological dead end. It looks dreadful.

Ian
Ian
3 months ago
Reply to  Boris S.

When I first saw the concept it struck me that an F16 had contracted Mumps.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Boris S.

Ha! Yes, I thought that too back in the day. Looks weird.

Trevor Holcroft
Trevor Holcroft
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

The X32 would have developed into something a bit different – apparently…

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/20971/this-is-what-a-boeing-f-32-wouldve-looked-like-if-lockheed-lost-the-jsf-competition

Not so ungainly, and a revised wing.

Although I don’t know if it was the best ultimate option. It used vectored exhaust I think not lift fan(?).

Andrew
Andrew
3 months ago
Reply to  dan

Dan,

i’m sure one day we will find out perhaps the real story why Boeing dropped the ball with the x32…

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  farouk

It certainly appears to use a slimmer version of the F32’s original layout. Let’s not forget the design of the F32 was radically changed near the end of the selection process.

It probably resembles what an F32 ‘would’ have looked like if it never had to take a Stovl variant into account.

I suppose there are only so many single engine stealthy configurations, so it was always going to resemble either the X32, X35 or X36.

Ironically, despite its fugly looks, the F32 was always said to have least compromised Stovl variant.

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

If you ever saw the program that showed the two prototypes battling against each other. The X35 was always in the lead. When it can to do vertical take-offs and landings, the X32 failed, as it was too heavy. It eventually did it, but only have the undercarriage doors, access panels and anything else that was surplus was removed. Meanwhile the X35 did it at full test weight.

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I recall the x32 also suffered from hot air injest during hover. Did the x35 also go from vertical take off to supersonic which also clinched the deal.

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Expat

In the program it did show a C35 take off vertically then accelerate to supersonic, rejoin then circuit and land vertically. Which was a first I believe.

Although they never said it, I’m sure that having an aircraft that can perform straight off the bat without any modifications, pretty much clinched the deal. In similar ways that the YF22 beat the “better” YF23. As The YF22 was further developed than the YF23.

Expat
Expat
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

I must watch both the programs on the yf23 and x32 again. Doesn’t look like the US is having a run off for their 6th gen fighter, probably realised it can give a false positive. Fighters are so complicated that just because the airframe and engine work well doesn’t means the integration of the other system will go smoothly.

Barry Larking
Barry Larking
3 months ago

I support the idea that this aeroplane might just be a money spinner,a knock off of the F-35 for countries that either cannot afford the real thing or won’t ever get their hands on one (i.e. Syria, Turkey and some gangsta statelets).

Klonkie
Klonkie
3 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Hi Barry I was thinking much the same thing. The Russian air force will be hard pressed to scale up S57 production to replace ageing legacy types. This could well be a more affordable option for them, plus of course export (India ??)as you point out.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
3 months ago
Reply to  Barry Larking

Turkey has its own TFX fighter programme. They won’t be touching this.

Airborne
Airborne
3 months ago

It must be good as I cannot see the stealth tug anywhere! Well done russkies!

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Airborne

🤣🤣🤣

Boris S.
Boris S.
3 months ago

I do wonder what the next step in design will be since everyone is now developing and deploying stealths. Ultra-low heat signatures?

Mark
Mark
3 months ago
Reply to  Boris S.

Given the USAF seems to be progressing the 6th Gen faster than expected, we might see soon enough…

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
3 months ago

Invest in Russian model manufacturers

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

The Russians are going to build hundreds of these fantasy fighters to put on their fantasy super carriers to support their fantasy fleet of tanks.

In the real world climate change will shrink the market for Putin’s fossil fuels and his military will become increasingly unaffordable.

Karl
Karl
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

Until Germany buys his gas, or he decides to use the gold reserves he bought over the past decade. And “poorer” nations will buy an F35ski.

Dave12
Dave12
3 months ago
Reply to  Karl

Wishful thinking on your part Karl, russias economic dependence on fossil fuels is not a good thing and it shows now.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Rob

A moot point Rob, the UK is showing Europe the way with shifting away from fossil fuels with a real sense of purpose now … I think we’ve actually embarrassed the EU into a game of catch-up! By 2040, the West’s requirements for fossil fuels will be a fraction of today’s demand, for that matter, it will likely be significantly less by 2030 if the current push to renewables is sustained. This creates a massive issue for Russia, as it’s economy is disproportionately related to natural gas and oil exports. As demand shrinks, it will only be countries like Saudi… Read more »

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

It’s hard to know how realistic these goals are. The issue is renewable energy is more expensive than coal/gas, and can countries really afford to replace all their power stations in 10-20 years, and that doesn’t take into account most homes would need to replace their gas boilers. I suspect like most of the environmental goals, they won’t be achieved, and will be fudged at the time. I suspect it will be a fair bit longer before the west drops it’s dependency. Whether the continue decline in supply will match decline in demand and therefore keep up the prices, who… Read more »

Slothnado
Slothnado
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

A quick internet search will show you that renewables (especially wind) has been less expensive than coal/gas since about 2019. There are multiple grid-scale energy storage technologies coming online that will soon solve the intermitency problem, meaning our current need for fosil fuel/nuclear stations for back-up and base load will reduce over time.

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Slothnado

I stand corrected. I don wonder why nations keep building coal /gas power stations rather than renewable ones? I haven’t researched it, but i am wondering if the cost of generation is cheaper for renewable but the cost of the power plant itself is more expensive.

John Clark
John Clark
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve, the question of cost of the changeover (mainly led by the powerful fossil fuels and automotive industry) has been the delaying factor for years. The difference now is there is genuine political will to crack on. It will eventually give us sovereign energy security and that’s a price well worth paying.

Palaboran
Palaboran
3 months ago

Russia “unveils” new “stealth” concept – isn’t this contradictory?

Boris S.
Boris S.
3 months ago
Reply to  col

Nice find! Wonder how long it will stay up.

JJ Smallpiece
JJ Smallpiece
3 months ago

Another no doubt stolen from Western computers. Pity Vlad can’t afford many of them, if at all.

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  JJ Smallpiece

The art of espionage. Don’t forget the west has stolen lots of tech from Russia also, including spending billions to steal a sub. Russia doesn’t have the numbers it used to have and is unlikely to be a conventional threat to the US anymore, but it still building more than any two non US NATO member combined. I don’t think anyone seriously thinks the treaty would actually work in practice, and that all NATO members would come to help another. More likely most members will dither and delay, leaving any military action to either the US or a handful of… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

If article 5 is invoked NATO will fight. Any country that refuses will be out on the street. Putin needs to know that or it will end in tears.

Rudeboy1
Rudeboy1
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The US didn’t spend billions (actually less than $1bn) to steal Russian subs for the tech…there was nothing technological they could learn from Soviet sub design, they were decades ahead. They were after cryptographic info and a look at Soviet weapon design.

Steve
Steve
3 months ago
Reply to  Rudeboy1

Todays price (adjusted for inflation) it would have been over $4b, they spent big time.

Last edited 3 months ago by Steve
Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

“… it still building more than any two non US NATO member combined” – What’s it building more of Steve?

“I don’t think anyone seriously thinks the treaty would actually work in practice, …” That’s a rather broad assumption. “I don’t think anyone” = no one, so every party to NATO will default on their treaty obligations?

Steve
Steve
3 months ago

If you really believe a treaty would force a country into a war, you really don’t understand politics. There is also many ways to fudge it, such as declaring war but not actually sending any troops.

Ultimately it will come down to which country is invaded, what’s in it for the individual members to help, local public opinion of going to war, and what the other members do, there won’t be this sudden all members send their military into war that the treaty requires.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Who said anything about treaties forcing anything? How about answering the questions? You make sweeping generalizations without anything to back them up.

Peter Crisp
Peter Crisp
3 months ago

It’s not as good as Firefox but it looks alright.
Just remember to “Think in Russian!” if you want to fly it.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter Crisp

 😁  Dr Baranovich will be turning in his grave. That is no Mig 31.

Goldilocks
Goldilocks
3 months ago

Airfix must be having a heyday!

Malcolm Rich
Malcolm Rich
3 months ago

Ahhh but you all missed the most important part of the picture that is out of place, the cleaner with a mop and bucket walking into picture. This is a sign…. a red herring  😂  😜  maybe or there to clean up the oil/fuel/hydraulic leak…

TypewriterMonkey
TypewriterMonkey
3 months ago

Assuming that this is a mockup, it will be interesting to see how it progresses, or not, especially if it’s an export-only model. The Chinese Shenyang FC-31 (export-only) has not sold a single aircraft. I wouldn’t want to be hedging my bets developing and marketing a fighter aircraft right now. Success comes down to so many things, including timing and politics. Arguably, the political delays to the Eurofighter meant that it was too late to market, an interceptor when the market wanted a multirole fighter. Tempest will also face similar timing challenges. Janes has an interesting, if slightly concerning, article… Read more »

Last edited 3 months ago by TypewriterMonkey
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 months ago

I can appreciate the jokes what with Russian ships and subs sinking and all the other mishaps.

But at least they are building the planes. How many seriously doubt Tempest will ever see the light of day? I do. At least in the all singing dancing versions it is portrayed.

The Russians have built some formidable combat aircraft over the decades. Mig 31 for example. The real one, not the film!

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago

This seems to be a bold move by Russia, but it actually makes financial sense. When the Mig 29 and Su27 replaced the Mig 23/27 and Su17/20/22 aircraft. The technology and maintenance requirements went up significantly. This left a gap in the market for a cheap, low maintenance, yet effective fighter aircraft. It has led countries to buy glorified trainer aircraft to fulfil the role. But also China saw an opportunity and has produced the JF-17 Thunder, which is more like a baseline F16. Sukhoi have beat Mikoyan I believe, even though they both come under the same Rostec hat… Read more »

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
3 months ago
Reply to  DaveyB

Talk is its targeting the export market as a light single engine aircraft because the SU-35 isnt selling well (people saying the improvement over the SU-27 is negligible) and the SU-57 likely wont either. All the promotional materials for the Checkmate are in English rather than Russian and the promotional video for the aircraft features foreign pilots of the airforces that usually buy Russian aircraft. I cant see Russia itself buying this unless it cancels the SU-35 completely as it will divide limited resources even further.

DaveyB
DaveyB
3 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Yeah, I saw the video. Had to laugh when the Argentinian guy showed up. Not sure how they could afford such an aircraft? The show on Tuesday might reveal more.

Portsea Islander
Portsea Islander
3 months ago

I hope they SPOE the avionics better than the projector display.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
3 months ago

No doubt it will be armed with phasers and photon torpedoes as well as having the ability to fly exoatmospheric into and out of space. Anything is possible with Putin’s wonder weapons. All for the price of a lada 4×4 and for export to whoever is mad enough to believe all the hype. It will be as stealthy as a pile of nuts and bolts no doubt just like the SU57 which is a big, loud polluting jet with 2 dirty great big exhaust nozzles that any self respecting heat seeker can lock onto from 50 miles away. Let Russia… Read more »