Russia’s first single-engine stealth fighter, the Sukhoi Su-75 Checkmate was unveiled during MAKS 2021 two years ago with a very clear plan, to be an export product.
The reason is that the Russian Air Force had decided that it would only operate twin-engine fighters and the Checkmate came up with just one afterburning engine, something that had not happened since the appearance of the MiG-23 in the 1970s.
The state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which controls Sukhoi, sought to offer a 5th generation aircraft at a lower price than the Lockheed Martin F-35 and thus help to rebuild the country’s aerospace industry.
The invasion of Ukraine took place seven months later and plans regarding the Su-75 were unclear. Optimistic predictions about entry into service have given way to a longer schedule, but since then little has been seen of the aircraft beyond the full-scale mockup unveiled in 2021.
In the meantime, patent drawings of a hypothetical two-seater variant have emerged, as ADN has shown firsthand, as well as proposals to assemble it in countries such as India and the United Arab Emirates.
But days ago new information emerged in Russia, patent drawings in which Checkmate appears with its tail greatly modified.
Conventional tail, larger wings
The drawings are of rather poor quality, but show important changes in its configuration, which would no longer use a V-tail to have orthodox vertical stabilizers.
The fighter also had the trailing edge of the wings would be elongated, joining a kind of diagonal fin next to the vertical stabilizers.
The two-seat version features canopy changes from the one we showed in November 2022, plus the engine nozzle appears shorter.
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The images were published on the Russian intellectual property service, but it is not clear if they are a studied version or if Sukhoi has indeed decided to improve the project.
This hypothesis was cited by Aviation & Week which attributed the change to studies to make the Checkmate more stealthy.
Despite the rush to have one more advanced fighter, Russia seems to be at a very early stage of the project, as not even the final configuration seems defined.
Needing to allocate resources to the production of more fighters, especially the Su-57 Felon, Russia may have to delay the development of the Checkmate for several years. Unless it finds a foreign partner capable of funding the project.