Indian Air Force (IAF) is already flying Russian fighter aircraft Sukhoi 30 which are the frontline and multi-role as well as the MiG fighters as well as helicopters.
The possibility of exporting the latest Sukhoi `Checkmate’ Light Tactical Aircraft (LTA) aircraft will be discussed in case India expresses substantive interest in this new fighter. “For our part, we are open to cooperation and are ready to consider all proposals. Our countries are already actively developing cooperation in the field of aviation technology,” a top officer of Russia based Rostec has told Financial Express Online. Adding, “The Indian military aviation fleet is almost 80% equipped with Russian equipment, such as Su-30, MiG-29UPG multirole fighters, or shipborne MiG-29K/KUB.”
Are there plans to offer India the new Checkmate?
Director of International Cooperation of Rostec (Rostec: Russia’s state aerospace and defence conglomerate), Viktor Kladov tells Financial Express Online, “Checkmate is a project with high export potential. The combination of high combat payload, modern equipment and low cost per flight hour makes the aircraft extremely cost-effective considering its combat capabilities. The flexible use of various configurations allows us to accurately customize it to meet the needs of almost any potential customer.”
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“The Matryoshka automated logistic support system, specially created for this aircraft, allows organizing personnel training, planning maintenance with high precision and delivering necessary components on time. The system will reduce after–sales services costs while increasing its efficiency, and ensure a high level of combat readiness of the fleet, even during high-intensity operations,” Director of International Cooperation of Rostec, adds.
In July at the MAKS air show in Zhukovsky, Moscow, United Aerospace Company, an umbrella corporation that includes the Mikoyan-Gurevich (MiG) and Sukhoi design bureaus unveiled the fifth generation stealth fighter, Sukhoi `Checkmate’. This new Light Tactical Aircraft (LTA) aircraft is not operational yet, but is considered to be budget friendly and is mainly meant for the export market.
An official statement issued during the show last month, “This fifth generation single-engine light fighter, has no analogues in Russia yet. And it combines innovative solutions and technologies, which includes artificial intelligence support for the pilot’s work. Also on board there are proven solutions that have already been tested in practice.”
“This fighter has low visibility and high flight performance. Supercomputer technologies are being used extensively on the Checkmate project.”
The new fighter jet from Sukhoi is scheduled to take to the skies in 2023 following which the first batch of the fighters will be produced in 2026. And once the serial production begins the plans are to produce around 300 aircraft over 15 years.
More about Checkmate
The LTA has an engine intake below the cockpit and has a pointy nose. And it has an internal weapons bay which has been designed to preserve its anti-radar shaping. It has the capability to carry both air-to-air and air-to-ground ordnance: guided and unguided bombs, and unguided rockets; infrared and radar-guided air-to-air missiles; air-to-ground and anti-ship missiles; both guided and unguided bombs, and unguided rockets.
Capabilities of Checkmate as available
It can travel upto 1,500 kms in a single sortie loaded with weapons and payload and has been developed as a short takeoff-and-landing fighter jet.
Is capable of supersonic flight uninterrupted and can share data with other fighters in the air.
Compared to the F-35 (approx. USD 75 million) of the US, this aircraft is expected to cost around USD 30 million each and the company is expecting orders from Latin American countries, Middle East as well as Asia Pacific Region.
IAF & Russian aircraft
Indian Air Force (IAF) is already flying Russian fighter aircraft Sukhoi 30 which are the frontline and multi-role as well as the MiG fighters as well as helicopters. Now, the IAF has started gradually phasing out MiG-21s and has started inducting French `Rafale’ and the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft `Tejas’.