Russia Pitches Su-75 Checkmate, IL-76 To Middle East Nations; To Showcase Aircraft At Saudi Defense Show

Russia is poised to showcase its cutting-edge Checkmate IL-76, Su-75, MiG-35 aircraft at the World Defense Show 2024 International Arms Exhibition in Saudi Arabia to attract potential buyers for these advanced aircraft.

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The event is scheduled to occur in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, from February 4 to 8, 2024. As reported by the state-run media agency TASS on February 2, the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has confirmed its participation in the World Defense Show 2024 and expressed its intention to exhibit the Checkmate Su-75 and MiG-35 jets. 

In a statement, UAC mentioned that it would present its image at the exhibition, and visitors could also familiarize themselves with the corporation’s products, particularly the Su-75 Checkmate and MiG-35 aircraft, at the Rostec State Corporation’s stand.

Yuri Slyusar, CEO of UAC, emphasized the significance of the Middle East as a crucial region with notable interest in the corporation’s products. 

The Checkmate, a light tactical aircraft developed by PJSC Sukhoi Company (a part of Rostec’s UAC), was unveiled at the MAKS-2021 air show and internationally first showcased at the Dubai Airshow 2021 in the UAE.

Su-75 Checkmate
Su-75 Checkmate at Dubai Airshow (via Twitter)

In July 2023, reports emerged indicating that the UAC had secured patents for three new configurations of the Su-75, featuring modified wing shapes, fuselage adjustments, and reduced radar visibility. These configurations included single-seat, unmanned, and two-seat variations.

The Checkmate aircraft is presently in the developmental phase, with Moscow strategically positioning it for international exports. The primary objective is to solicit interest from a nation capable of providing financial support for the ongoing development of the aircraft. 

The Russian defense industry, in this context, identifies the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a promising candidate for potential collaboration, envisioning a cooperative effort in the co-production of this advanced fighter jet.

On the other hand, the MiG-35, described by Moscow as a “4++” generation multirole fighter, represents a further evolution of the MiG-29K/KUB and MiG-29M/M2 aircraft. 

The fighter, designed to operate in high-intensity armed conflict zones amid saturated and layered enemy air defense systems, underwent flight tests and international presentation in January 2017, with factory tests concluding in December of the same year.

Other Notable Russian Defense Products

The exhibition lineup at the upcoming World Defense Show 2024 in Saudi Arabia also includes the modernized Il-76MD-90A airlifter, adorned in the new corporate colors of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). 

Incidentally, Russia recently lost its IL-76 aircraft when Ukraine reportedly shot down it with a Patriot missile. The aircraft was carrying 65 Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Described as a profound upgrade of the well-known Il-76 airlifter, the Il-76MD-90A stands out with its reinforced wing crafted using innovative technologies and powered by PS-90A-76 engines. 

File Image: IL-76MDA

Despite its outward similarities to its predecessor, the manufacturer said the aircraft has captured significant attention, particularly from Gulf countries and the Middle East.

UAC CEO Yury Slyusar said there is a specific focus on promoting the flagship Il-76MD-90A in the region and highlighted UAC’s unique position as one of the few companies possessing advanced capabilities across all segments of aircraft construction.

The Il-76MD-90A represents an enhanced version of the Il-76 (Candid, according to NATO classification). It features an upgraded navigational complex, automatic controls, and communications, contributing to heightened flight safety and airdrop precision. 

Notable modifications include a modern glass cockpit, state-of-the-art PS-90A-76 engines, a redesigned wing, and a reinforced chassis. The aircraft boasts a flying range of five thousand kilometers with a payload capacity of 52 tons.

In addition to the Il-76MD-90A, the Rostec Corporation is also set to present the Serp-VS6 counter-UAV complex at the World Defense Show 2024. 

Developed by the Vector Research Institute of Ruselectronics, this system offers protection against various drones, including high-speed FPV drones and drone swarms. 

According to Vector CEO Sergey Skorykh, the new Serp-VS6 modification, designed to combat high-speed targets, completed trials in 2003, and deliveries to the Russian civilian market have commenced.

The Serp-VS6, accompanied by its equipment, can be swiftly deployed within 30 minutes and transported in multiple cases. 

Operating within a 5 km radius, the complex effectively counters drone swarms. Its 90-degree regulated sectors ensure a comprehensive viewing angle without interfering with friendly drones. 

The Serp system disrupts drone control channels and interferes with the operation of onboard satellite navigation systems, rendering the drone incapable of fulfilling its mission as the operator loses control.