The Sukhoi "Chekcmate" 5th Generation lightweight stealth fighter is the latest combat aircraft offering from Russia, the entry viewed to be a low-cost, stealth-minded offering by Russia for interested export parties. The design is sponsored by Rostek State Corporation (UAC) and was teased in the days leading up to the MAKS 2021 air show outside Moscow. The aircraft appears to borrow design lines from both the American Lockheed Martin F-35 "Lightning II" strike fighter and the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 "Felon" multi-role fighter, both featuring inherent stealth characteristics as well as 5th Generation classification.
At its core, the fighter in question is of single-seat, single-engine configuration with proven external stealth characteristics including fuselage chine running from nose to tail. The cockpit is seated aft of a short nosecone, presumably shrouding an all-modern radar unit. The fuselage is deep, tapered at the nose and tail ends, and assumed to house an internal weapons bay or bays. Interestingly, the air inlet is fitted ventrally, allowing for clean air intake to the turbofan within the middle-aft of the fuselage (the Lockheed F-16 "Fighting Falcon" and Eurofighter "Typhoon" multirole types both feature this design quality). The new fighter also bears some similarities to the Boeing X-32, a prototype strike fighter which unsuccessfully competed with the X-35 for the role eventually fulfilled by the F-35 Lighting II design. The exhaust port of the engine, bookended at the rear of the fuselage by the tailfins, is circular.
The mainplanes are of relatively small-area delta shape, negating the need for traditional horizontal tailplanes. The tailplanes featured are outward-canted, believed to be all-moving, and cover the role of vertical and horizontal planes seen in more conventional fighter designs.
Estimate performance figures indicate a maximum speed beyond Mach 2.0. Gross Take-Off Weight (GTOW) is assumed to be in the 20 ton (short) region. Comparatively, the F-35 reaches speeds of Mach 1.6 at altitude and sports a gross weight of 25 tons. The F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 2.05 and a GTOW of 13.25 tons. As such, the Checkmate may feature performance and battlefield capabilities somewhere between this 5th and 4th (respectively) fighter designs.
It is accepted that the Checkmate aircraft on display at MAKS is a full-sized mockup and not a full-fledged, flyable prototype. Additionally, base on the tail number on display, the fighter may carry the official designation of "Su-75" in service.
Named prime candidates for the Checkmate appear to include Argentina and Vietnam who both field an aging feet of primary 4th Generation (or older) fighters. India always remains in the running for new Russia fighter types as well while the Checkmate may very well be used as a lightweight counterpart to the heavier Su-57 for the Russian Air Force, as the Mikoyan MiG-29 "Fulcrum" has been to the Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" series for decades.
NOTE: Structural dimensions and performance specifications showcased on this page are estimates on the part of the author. Data will be updated as new information allows.
Argentina (possible); Russia (possible); United Arab Emirates (possible); Vietnam (possible)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Air-to-Air Combat, Fighter
General ability to actively engage other aircraft of similar form and function, typically through guns, missiles, and/or aerial rockets.
✓X-Plane (Developmental, Prototype, Technology Demonstrator)
Aircraft developed for the role of prototyping, technology demonstration, or research / data collection.
Houses, or can house (through specialized variants), radar equipment for searching, tracking, and engagement of enemy elements.
Survivability enhanced by way of onboard electronic or physical countermeasures enacted by the aircraft or pilot/crew.
Mainplanes, or leading edges, features swept-back lines for enhanced high-speed performance and handling.
Can accelerate to higher speeds than average aircraft of its time.
Can reach and operate at higher altitudes than average aircraft of its time.
PILOT / CREW EJECTION SYSTEM
Assisted process of allowing its pilot and / or crew to eject in the event of an airborne emergency.
Supports pressurization required at higher operating altitudes for crew survival.
Features partially- or wholly-enclosed crew workspaces.
Features retracting / retractable undercarriage to preserve aerodynamic efficiency.
49.2 ft (15.00 m)
32.8 ft (10.00 m)
16.4 ft (5.00 m)
36,156 lb (16,400 kg)
51,588 lb (23,400 kg)
+15,432 lb (+7,000 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Sukhoi Checkmate production variant)
monoplane / mid-mounted / delta
Design utilizes a single primary wing mainplane; this represent the most popular mainplane arrangement.
Mainplanes are mounted along the midway point of the sides of the fuselage.
The planform takes on the general shape of a triangle in which the leading edges are swept back for high-speed efficiency while the trailing edge is straight.
(Structural descriptors pertains to the Sukhoi Checkmate production variant)
1 x Afterburning turbofan engine of unknown make, model, and thrust output.
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