Russian Defense Ministry May Acquire Checkmate on Next Programming Law

Until now, the communication of the Russian authorities around the new program of the 5th generation single-engine fighter Checkmate had only focused on industrial and export aspects. The acquisition of the device by the Russian armed forces had always been a subject carefully avoided by them, especially since the country is already fully engaged in an already very ambitious military programming law, or GPV, extending until 2027, and focusing on the acquisition, in this field, of Su-57, Su-35 and Su-34 fighters and the S70 Okhotnik-B heavy drone to modernize the Russian air force. Adding in these conditions the acquisition of a new unplanned aircraft was therefore irrelevant, especially since the budgetary effort already made by Russia in the field of defense equipment acquisitions already represents alone, more than 1% of the country's GDP.

However, the Russian authorities know, and the example of the failure of the Mig-35 was there to remind them, that international customers are much more inclined to acquire a device when it is actually in service in their country of origin. Not surprisingly, when you know the weight of the acquisition, maintenance and modernization of a fleet of combat aircraft. A reality recalled by Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Minister of Defense Yuri Borisov during discussions at the Tyumen Oil and Gas Forum, the latter having further stated that the acquisition of the new Checkmate by the Russian air forces could be considered within the framework of the next military planning law, which should be presented in 2025 or 2026.

Although efficient, economical and well-equipped, the Mig-35 did not experience any export success, largely due to being shunned by the Russian air force.

Although the Checkmate program was initially an own initiative of Rostec and the Sukhoi design office, Moscow was quick to take control of its development, by announcing at the beginning of September through the voice of the director of international technological cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev, that its financing, and therefore its control, was provided by the Russian Federal State. On the other hand, no statement hitherto suggested that the device could indeed be acquired by the Russian air forces, the latter being on this subject of a deathly silence on the subject. But the Kremlin today clearly perceives the potential of the device on the export market, while, as Yuri Borisov himself says, the market will soon be largely under the control of the United States and China. To maintain the Russian aeronautics industry in a position to impose itself on export markets essential to its survival in the next 20 years, it is therefore essential to rely on aircraft with high export potential, and therefore to support the Checkmate program with a significant national acquisition, no offense to the military.

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