What do we know about the new Russian light fighter?

The announcement of the presentation of a new light fighter model developed by the Russian Rostec on the occasion of the Moscow MAKS 2021 show had already had the effect of a small bomb in the small world of global military aeronautics. But the photos showing an apparatus whose state of development is obviously well advanced even if it is covered with tarpaulins, and the hall proudly displaying the word "CheckMate" in English, Echec et Mat in French, show that, obviously , the Russian aeronautical industry intends to mark the spirits with this device during this show. This is therefore an opportunity to synthesize what we already know about this program, and to extrapolate its implications and consequences, both on the future of Russian air power, and on potential markets for the future. export that this device does not hide to aim.

If the development of a new light fighter had on several occasions been mentioned by the Mig design offices, it was statements by Sergei Chemezov, CEO of Rostec, last December, then duringan interview given to the Ria Novotny site in May, which gave substance to this program, without really knowing its ambitions or timetable. Thus, the manufacturer had specified, on the occasion of the presentation of the export results of the Russian armaments industry, that the new aircraft under development would have a maximum takeoff weight of 18 tons and that 'he would be powered by the same reactor as the Su-57, the izdeliye 30 a maximum thrust of 18 tons with post-combustion, and almost 12 tons in normal mode, giving the aircraft a thrust-to-weight ratio greater than or equal to 1 whatever its configuration, and great maneuverability thanks to the vector thrust of the new engine. In addition, the new fighter would take the codes of the 5th generation, namely stealth, the ability to process and data fusion, and super-cruising, like the Su-57 from which it obviously borrows from many technologies.

The single-engine configuration of the new aircraft is clearly visible in this photo, despite the masking tarpaulins.

The photos taken surreptitiously in preparation for the MAKS 2021 show, and showing a covered aircraft, make it possible to assess its length, between 14 and 15 meters, and confirm its single-engine configuration, which places it unequivocally in the category of F16 (14,5 , 17m for 2000 tonnes) and Mirage 14 (18m for 21 tonnes), and makes it a potential designated successor to the famous Mig-14 (11m for 3 tonnes), the most built and most exported to the world, with more than 14.000 copies leaving Soviet and Allied factories. In addition, the stealth of the device, presented as "multi-bands" by the manufacturer himself, clearly shows in the shapes that we can guess under the tarpaulins. It should also be remembered that it would be developed simultaneously in a piloted version and in a drone version by Rostec. Note, however, that the model presented seems to go well beyond a simple static model, as was the case during the presentation of the European NGF and Tempest for example. It is true that Sukhoi generally favors the presentation of very advanced prototypes, and even flying, at major trade shows, as was the case for the Su-35 which made its first public flight at MAKS 2007, like the Su-57. whose first public presentation at MAKS 2011 was to be accompanied by a flight which did not take place due to a technical problem. It would therefore come as no surprise that the new aircraft would make a flight at MAKS 2021.


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