The new Russian Su-75 Checkmate fighter is also expected to have a two-seat version. Official images obtained by ADN reveal what the dual-cockpit aircraft will look like.
Developed by Sukhoi, Checkmate is a single-engine fighter with stealth design and features that are capable of making it “invisible” to radar, in addition to an engine with a vector thrust system, which is why it is considered 5th generation.
The new Russian design was unveiled in July 2021 during the MAKS airshow in Moscow as an export-oriented product, although the country’s air force is expected to eventually become a customer given the lack of modern aircraft in its fleet.
Comparing the designs of the single-seat Su-75 with the two-seat Checkmate it is possible to confirm that Sukhoi did not change the fuselage length, housing the crew in a cockpit positioned a little further back.
The type of configuration suggests a loss of space for weapons and fuel, which may indicate that the two-seat Su-75 may have lower performance.
It remains to be seen what is the purpose of the United Aircraft Corporation, the holding company that controls Sukhoi and the main Russian aerospace manufacturers.
Will the two-seater Checkmate be a training aircraft or an aircraft with a mission to carry out attacks, perhaps being used as a vector for unmanned aircraft? The second hypothesis seems more plausible given the evolution of combat strategies on the battlefield.
First flight scheduled for 2024
According to information previously released by the UAC, the first flight of the Su-75 (in the single-seater version) is scheduled for mid-2024 and its series production should begin in 2026, with deliveries starting the following year.
As already mentioned by the CEO of UAC, Yuri Slyusar, the company’s goal is to produce 300 aircraft of the new fighter within a period of 15 years after the completion of the project.
The chief executive of the state-owned conglomerate has also commented that the jet will be able to fly at a maximum speed of around 1,900 km/h and offer a combat radius of 3,000 km. The aircraft is also expected to have a very low acquisition cost, estimated at between $25 million and $30 million.
Sukhoi, so far, has revealed little about the Checkmate’s technical details, but assured that it shares much of what’s in the Su-57 Felon, which today is the most advanced Russian fighter jet in service. One of these components is expected to be the Izdeliye 30 afterburner engine, but the information has not been confirmed.
The UAC, however, said that the new fighter jet will have the most capable internal weapons compartment in its class, including all the missiles that are carried by the Felon. It will also be a modular aircraft, capable of more frequent upgrades, like its US rival, the Lockheed Martin F-35.
The trade sanctions Russia faces, however, could delay the program’s timeline, as well as shrinking Checkmate’s overseas market. Therefore, it will take more time to understand the role of the two-seat Su-75 in this scenario.