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Russia Officially Unveils New Checkmate Fighter, But Performance Claims are Ambitious

July 23, 2021

From the Air Force Magazine website

The new Russian ‘Checkmate’ fighter jet unveiled at MAKS-2021 air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow on July 21, 2021. Image from RT video

Russia officially unveiled its new Checkmate fighter at the MAKS airshow July 20, offering a series of ambitious performance claims about the jet, which it is clearly promoting as a low-cost, single-engined alternative to the F-35 in the world market. Company officials said an unmanned version may become available.

United Aircraft Corp.—parent company for all of Russia’s aircraft makers, including Sukhoi, Ilyushin, MiG, and Tupolev—says the Checkmate will fly in 2023, will be in series production in 2026, and will be offered for export at the bargain basement price of $25-$30 million per copy. That’s well below the price of the F-35, which is running at just under $80 million a copy for the conventional-takeoff F-35A model, after some 665 examples have been produced. A company press release said the Checkmate was developed “in record time.”

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