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UAE shows interest in Russia’s new Checkmate fighter

The new single-engine fighter is based on stealth technology and is outfitted with an inboard compartment for airborne air-to-air and air-to-surface armaments

DUBAI, November 15. /TASS/. Representatives of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have shown their interest in Russia’s latest Checkmate single-engine light tactical fighter and want to have a closer look at it, Head of the state tech corporation Rostec Sergei Chemezov said at the Dubai Airshow 2021 on Monday.

"You have seen the aircraft yourselves. We have developed a nice and good aircraft. The United Arab Emirates has already displayed its interest in it and wants to examine the aircraft more closely and discuss it," the chief executive told reporters.

The Checkmate will also evoke an interest from other countries that will hold planned meetings with Rostec, he said.

"We have one major advantage compared to all the other [foreign] aircraft. First of all, this is an open configuration plane: we are offering the platform that can carry any armaments that the customer may wish. Besides, we outfit it with various electronics, electronic warfare systems, target acquisition capabilities and so on," Chemezov explained.

All these options can be installed upon the customer’s wish, he said.

"And, of course, the price will vary, depending on these options. I hope that the baseline price will be around $30-35 million," the Rostec chief said.

Foreign armaments have to be adapted to the Russian fighter, he said. "We offer the options that are available and have been tested on the Su-57. These systems have been developed and tested and they have proven their efficiency and thus they are simpler and cheaper," Chemezov said.

Russia to create three prototypes of Checkmate fighter by 2023

Three prototypes of the cutting-edge Checkmate fighter will be created by the time that the aircraft is scheduled to make its debut flight in 2023, the Rostec head said.

"About three prototypes are needed for the aircraft to take to the skies and undergo test flights," he said, replying to a question about whether the Russian tech firm would be able to build several aircraft by the Checkmate’s debut flight scheduled for 2023.

Russia’s state arms seller Rosoboronexport has already begun to promote the cutting-edge fighter on world arms markets, Chemezov said.

"A series of negotiations with foreign delegations has been held and now configuration offers for them are being formulated," he said.

"I would refer the JF-17, J-10 and F-16 to its rivals but only the F-35 can boast comparable characteristics. Nonetheless, our plane is economically more advantageous both in terms of its price and the cost of its flight hour. Also, it can carry a record amount of armaments. That is why, I believe that the fighter has good export potential," the Rostec chief said.

Head of Russia’s Untied Aircraft Corporation (UAC within Rostec) Yuri Slyusar earlier said that the work for the production of several more prototypes of the latest Checkmate fighter was launched simultaneously at the aircraft enterprise in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East.

Russia’s new Checkmate fighter

Russia’s state tech corporation Rostec unveiled the latest domestic single-engine fighter dubbed Checkmate at the MAKS-2021 international air show that ran in the suburban town of Zhukovsky outside Moscow on July 20-25. The new plane created by Rostec at its own initiative, is a derivative of the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter.

The new single-engine fighter is based on stealth technology and is outfitted with an inboard compartment for airborne air-to-air and air-to-surface armaments. The fighter will carry a payload of over 7 tonnes and will be capable of striking up to six targets at a time.

The Checkmate fighter will be capable of flying at Mach 1.8 (1.8 times the speed of sound) and will have an operating range of 3,000 km. The aircraft will be outfitted with a highly efficient powerplant. The new fighter is expected to take to the skies in 2023 and Rostec plans to launch the combat plane’s serial production starting in 2026.

Russia’s latest, cutting-edge fighter is expected to compete with America’s F-35A Lightning II and Sweden’s JAS-39 Gripen. The Checkmate incorporates the latest systems, including its open architecture configuration to meet the customer’s requirements and unique artificial intelligence technologies.

The Dubai Airshow 2021 is running in the United Arab Emirates on November 14-18.