Russia challenges F-35 in UAE with Su-75 Checkmate

Since its official presentation this summer at ARMY-2021 in Moscow, the new Russian 5th generation single-engine fighter Su-75 Checkmate has obviously become the workhorse of Sukhoi but also of Rostec to win during the Upcoming international competitions in the field of combat aircraft. This week, at the Dubai Airshow, the new aircraft, which still only exists as a static prototype, took its first steps on the international scene, and is clearly positioned as an alternative to the American F-35A, but also to the Rafale, Typhoon and Gripen Europeans, in the speeches of Russian officials, in particular on the Middle Eastern market.

Let us recall that the Su-75 Checkmate is a single-engine fighter taking the codes of the 5th generation, and offering, in Rostec's speech at least, many very attractive advantages. With a maximum takeoff weight of 18 tonnes, and an empty weight of 10 tonnes, the aircraft would fall into the category of multi-purpose single-engine fighters such as the Mirage 2000 or the F-16. However, the performances announced, with in particular an operational range of more than 1000 km, and a significant carrying capacity of weapons, would position it more in that of the F-35A, the Super Hornet or the Rafale, aircraft. 25 tonnes at take-off, more expensive to purchase and use. In addition to a promise of stealth, it also offers an excellent thrust-to-weight ratio even with the AL-41F1 interim engine, high maneuverability thanks to the three-dimensional vector thrust offered by this engine, and perfectly modern on-board avionics incorporating AESA radar, aiming helmet, FLIR and data fusion.

Even if it is nearly 12 tons lighter than the Su-57, the Su-75 remains an imposing device that does not allow it to be classified in the category of "light" fighters.

On the occasion of this show, the Russian manufacturer also confirmed that it intends to develop an unmanned version of his device, without giving more details on this version. This announcement may suggest that the S-70 Okhotnik B, more imposing and endowed with a range of action and a payload significantly greater than those of the Checkmate, would, for its part, be reserved for the Russian air forces. , and that the drone version of the Su-75 would cover this segment on the international scene. It will be noted in this respect that Russian air forces have still not formalized their interest in the new aircraft, even if the management of Rostec has announced that the export contractual negotiations of this one will not begin until the series production begins in 2026, which suggests that the first batches produced will indeed be for domestic use.

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