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The Su-75 Checkmate is Sukhoi’s (part of the UAC conglomerate) proposal for a new generation light multi-role combat aircraft, incorporating cutting-edge technical solutions (low radar signature, artificial intelligence, advanced materials, etc.), but adapting from technologies already developed for aircraft like the Su-57 or the MiG-35 Ful. It was unveiled to the public for the first time on the first day of the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Exhibition in Russia. After the MiG-23 Flogger (NATO code), it is the first single-engine fighter built by the Russian aerospace industry in decades.

The first flight of the Su-75, which was initially expected for 2023, will now take place in 2024, according to Denis Manturov, Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, in an interview with the local press as part of the Army-2022 military and technical event. Manturov asserts that delays are normal when creating a new fighter jet, and that the economic sanctions placed on Russia since February 2022 undoubtedly contributed as well. Since then, there has been no update on the Checkmate situation, and it appeared that its development had completely stopped. however, something new has happened!

A patent application for a “single-engine single-seat stealth aircraft,” with the date 12/28/2022, was submitted by United Aircraft Corporation’s design division. The Su-75 Checkmate design has undergone several substantial alterations.

In comparison to the model displayed at MAKS-2021 and the Dubai Air Show 2021 (the only time the mock-up was displayed outside Russia), the wing has undergone the most noticeable change. The trailing edge has been extended and angled, increasing wing area and, possibly, lowering the aircraft’s rear radar signature.

The engine installation, however, seems to have been slightly advanced. The aircraft’s fuselage has also undergone modification, which appears to have increased the interior volume. This could indicate that the Checkmate’s side armament bays, which typically house short-range air-to-air missiles, have been expanded, or that the Checkmate’s internal fuel capacity has been increased—or both.

UAC offered the design for a “single-engine two-seater stealth aircraft” based on this most recent redesign. The improvements include a tandem two-seater cockpit with the back seat raised to offer some forward visibility, just like earlier two-seater models made by the Sukhoi business.

The two-seat version might serve as a “command centre” for drones and Loyal Wingman-style unmanned combat aircraft in addition to training future Su-75 personnel.

The piloted aircraft design of the Checkmate was also unveiled, but with an unmanned version. This function is being developed for the sixth-generation air dominance systems, which have frequently been referred to as “optionally manned.”

The Su-75 Checkmate is still being developed, despite the fact that there is still a long way to go before these designs become a real combat aircraft (or family of aircraft), and there are good reasons to doubt that Russia can move this project forward while focusing all of its resources and efforts on the conflict in Ukraine.

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