NAKED ‘CHECKMATE’ – Should US/NATO be Worried About Russia’s Secret New Stealth Jet Fighter?

Screenshot via RostecRussia on Twitter

There is a lot of interest in a secrecy-shrouded new Russian stealth fighter about to be unveiled at the MAKS air show in Moscow next week. The single-engine stealth fighter, made by Russian aircraft giant Sukhoi, is reportedly called ‘Checkmate.’ Should the U.S. and NATO be worried?

Well, maybe. It appears to be a state-of-the-art – but perhaps slightly less capable aircraft to Russia’s best 5th generation fighter, the larger twin engine SU-57 which first flew in 2010.

The Su-57, NATO code named ‘Felon,’ was built to match the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, but unlike the U.S. aircraft, in service since 2005, the Su-57 is just beginning serial production. Meanwhile a new engine allowing the jet to cruise at supersonic speed is still under development.

The high cost of the aircraft has kept the financially strapped Russians from making a big production run of the ‘Felon; reportedly hoping for 78 of the top tier aircraft.

Meanwhile, according to David Axe at Forbes:

Rostec, Sukhoi’s parent company, teased Checkmate in a video the firm released July 13. A few days later, photos circulated online depicting what appears to be a tarp-draped Checkmate demonstrator at Ramenskoye airfield, site of the MAKS show.

The teases have inspired frantic speculation about Checkmate’s design and capabilities. Samuel Bendett, an expert on the Russian military with the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C., said Checkmate is an export fighter—a relatively inexpensive, low-observable warplane that Sukhoi can sell to countries that the U.S. State Department won’t allow to buy the F-35.

Based on the English-language branding, and international aspect of the video, some analysts suspect ‘Checkmate’ could be strongly geared to the international foreign military sales market.

Stripes reported that:

The new Russian warplane appears intended to compete with the U.S. F-35 Lightning II fighter, which entered service in 2015. Russia hopes to eventually offer the new aircraft to foreign customers.Rostec, the state corporation that includes Russian aircraft makers, said the “fundamentally new military aircraft” will be unveiled Tuesday at the show. 

In an apparent bid to raise public interest before the presentation, Rostec published a picture of the new plane covered by tarpaulin with “wanna see me naked?” written under it. It also posted a brief video featuring excited foreign customers and the jet’s vague shadow over the water.

While the, likely, less expensive new aircraft could be intended for export, Axes adds: “Checkmate, in theory, could [also] complement the Su-57 and help the Russian air force to field a “high-low” mix of twin- and single-engine stealth fighters. That’s what the U.S. Air Force is doing—acquiring hundreds of F-35s to complement 180 or so twin-engine F-22s.”

Russia’s Aerospace Forces (renamed in 2015) is still reportedly determined to get all 78 Su-57s it has planned. So, the answer to the question of whether the U/S. and NATO should be worried, is – Well, maybe a little. Let’s see. ADN

Paul Crespo is the Managing Editor of American Defense News. A defense and national security expert, he served as a Marine Corps officer and as a military attaché with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) at US embassies worldwide. Paul holds degrees from Georgetown, London, and Cambridge Universities. He is also CEO of SPECTRE Global Risk, a security advisory firm, and President of the Center for American Defense Studies, a national security think tank.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
nemo
nemo
4 months ago

The entire Free world should be worried, at least a tad… what is the range of this new bomber??? and load capacity??? How many “nukes” could it deliver and how fast???

Joe
Joe
4 months ago

America doesn’t have to worry about any of these other countries, we have the best of everything to counter them.

Gus Richards
Gus Richards
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe

That may have been true years ago, but sadly it’s really no longer that way. The only thing we can hope for is that other countries know that should they do anything stupid we have the means to have nukes rain down on them. Now when you talk about the muslim world that’s a different story, they just might be stupid enough to try and hit this country with dirty nukes.

GI Bride
4 months ago

Yes. Though we have a lot of strength in our own military, The USA can never be too careful

ROBERT POWELL
ROBERT POWELL
4 months ago

BY THE LOOK OF THE CRAFT, this was a Clinton donation to the soviets, not quite as stealthy,not quite as fast, and engines not quite as good as ours.

Billy Q
Billy Q
4 months ago

No need to worry Biden will cut the military budget in 1/2 and we will be left in another Liberal Shit Storm. That will be covered up by the Nazi Media so no need to loose any sleep folks …….Come on Man

agiletz
agiletz
4 months ago

Hardly stealthy – about as ‘noisy’ as all the the other so-called Ruskie crap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John
John
4 months ago

Prayer…the ultimate weapon to bring down the most powerful nations.


People, Places & Things