India, China ‘Key Contenders’ To Acquire Russia’s F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet – ‘Checkmate’

India, China and African countries are among potential buyers of Russia’s new light fighter jets Checkmate, Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said on Tuesday, adding that demand is estimated at 300 aircraft.

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“First of all, it will really be focused on the countries of Africa, India, Vietnam. The demand for these aircraft is quite high, it is estimated at least 300 aircraft in the near future,” Borisov said at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021.

The Checkmate fighter jet will be ready within four years, Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said.


“The main such novelty today, which should be released in the next four years, is a new single-engine fighter,” Manturov told reporters at the International Aviation and Space Salon MAKS-2021.

The Ministry of Industry hopes that the Russian Aerospace Forces will also acquire Checkmate fighters, Manturov added.


Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin inspected the ‘Checkmate’ a prototype of a new Sukhoi fifth-generation fighter jet. The warplane is likely to be touted as a rival to the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter, said Oleg Panteleyev, head of the Aviaport analytical agency.

Rostec, Russia’s state aerospace and defense conglomerate, said the fighter jet was hard to detect and would have low operating costs.

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A brief promotional video featured pilots from UAE, India, Vietnam and Argentina, suggesting that Moscow wants to pitch the plane overseas.

In 2011, Russia unveiled the Su-57 fighter jets at MAKS air show. United Aircraft Corporation, which is part of Rostec, owns the Sukhoi aircraft company that dates back to the USSR era.

Checkmate is a fifth-generation light fighter jet and first unveiled earlier in the day at the MAKS-2021 international aviation and space salon in the Moscow Region.

“Certainly, light-attack aircraft Checkmate has high export potential. The aircraft is capable of solving every task set by the customer, including effectively destroying land and sea targets, as well as fighting for air supremacy with numerically superior forces,” Chemezov said, noting that the fighter would also be of a special interest to clients from the Middle East, Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

According to the Rostec head, the aircraft has low visibility, high flight performance and is equipped with advanced avionics. The Checkmate also boasts the most spacious internal weapon bays in its class and is highly customizable. The fighter can carry up to five air-to-air missiles of various ranges and other aviation weapons in an inconspicuous configuration. It can further be used as base for an unmanned aerial vehicle with similar characteristics.

The maximum combat load of the new light fighter is 7,400 kilograms (16,314 pounds), while the flight range without external fuel tanks is 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles), Chemezov noted. At the same time, the aircraft has low maintenance costs due to an automated logistics support system, which allows to train personnel and plan component deliveries beforehand.