SU-57

It is clear that Russia is not giving up the Su-57 Checkmate fifth-generation light tactical fighter project. Despite the difficulties in its development and financing, Moscow intends to go ahead with a plan it announced early last year. 

However, as far as is known, the Su-75 project is currently almost on hold, as many Russian resources go to finance the war in Ukraine.

In this context, the Russian news agency TASS has reported that Moscow will present the Checkmate at the upcoming Aero India 2023 military exhibition. Also, according to an agency source, Rostec plans to invite India to join the project.

TASS writes on this occasion, “A delegation of Russian aircraft manufacturing companies representatives will come to Aero India. It is planned to discuss cooperation on fifth-generation aircraft. In particular, we intend to invite Indian friends to join the Checkmate light tactical fighter project.”

Aero India 2023 will be held from February 13-17 in Bangalore. It is an international forum dedicated to technological development and the manufacture of products in the field of aerospace engineering. 

The exhibition has become a traditional event for the Indian industry, held every two years. In principle, the main military exhibitions in the world are held over two years.

It is not the first time that Russia has participated in this exhibition. It can be said that the relations between Russia and India contrasted sharply during its making. In 2021, for example, the Russian Federation submitted more than 200 samples of Russian airborne military equipment.

United Arab Emirates and the Su-75

Russia shocked the world in 2021 when it unveiled a prototype Su-75 at a time when it had finished testing its Su-57 Felon and was gearing up for series production. Russia was the first host to introduce the aircraft, and a few months later, the UAE was the first foreign host to follow suit.

su-57

The presence of the UAE in the “presentation tour” of the plane was not accidental. It was the UAE that, together with Russia, participated in the development of the Checkmate. The UAE is said to be the first foreign operator of the Su-75. 

However, the past 12 months have led Abu Dhabi to withdraw gradually from its involvement in the project. Perhaps for this reason, Russia today is looking for another partner and sees one in the face of India.

According to the UAC (United Aircraft Corporation), the developers of Checkmate, the plane includes all the most modern advances. This even applies to open architecture, which will make it easier for you to upgrade in the future. 

Rostec claims that the Su-75 Checkmate will have artificial intelligence. The aircraft is made using stealth technologies and is equipped with an internal compartment in the fuselage for air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons.

The weight of the payload exceeds 7 tons. The fighter will be able to hit up to six targets simultaneously. The speed of a single-engine aircraft will be Mach 1.8, and the combat radius of about 3000 km.

The future of the Su-75

The future of the Su-75 is not hopeful. In September 2022, BulgarianMilitary.com wrote that Russia was seeking a foreign partner for the project. Specifically due to the withdrawal of investors from the UAE. It can be said that if before the war in Ukraine, the chances of the Su-75 surviving were 50:50, today, they are around 10 percent.

However, with its actions on the battlefield since February, Ukraine has “withdrawn” the Russian Su-75 Chess from the international market for military equipment, and not only it. 

Even a [supposedly] cheap Su-75 may not sell because it has no combat experience. And the war in Ukraine has shown that there are no untouchables, including the Su-27 Flanker, Su-35 Fullback, and Su-35 Flanker E.

Investing in a brand-new fighter with no prior combat experience is a riskier proposition than not having one in today’s Air Force. The introduction of drones and aerial weapons completely alters the battlefield.

Ukraine is an example of this once more. Given the dismal performance of the Russian Air Force, potential buyers of the Su-75 might be more interested in investing in-ground or anti-air defense systems than in the “new and untested” concept of air superiority.

The Second Problem

The second problem is spare parts. With the international economic sanctions imposed, the Su-75 at this point is impossible to exist. Russia will have to ensure the maintenance and supply of spare parts.

Even if the war ends now, the cost of the fighter will exceed what was promised. This means a greater supply of components, spare parts, and training. Import restrictions will be the hurdle Moscow will have to deal with.

The 3rd Problem

Everyone perceives the Su-75 as a stealth fighter. Logical, given the modern demands of war. But at what point do marketing and promotional materials and public relations mention the word “sneaky”?

And what engine will power the fighter? Saturn 30? It is possible, as this engine is expected to be the future of the Su-57 Felon. This raises the following question: will the Su-75 be a fifth-generation fighter?

Suppose the Russians have solved the problem of stealth technology and the engine of the Su-57 Felon. However, they have not yet solved a major problem in this aircraft’s avionics, most likely the Su-75 Checkmate. The absolute azimuth.

So far, we know that only American F-35 planes are equipped with this capability. There is no evidence to suggest that the Su-57 is equipped with a full suite of highly sensitive azimuth sensors. Russian R&D has not yet attained its full potential in the field of modern avionics.