Russian President Vladimir Putin has inspected the brand-new fifth-generation Sukhoi Checkmate maneuverable stealth fighter jet at the country’s annual MAKS Air Show, a plane touted to be a rival to the US’ famous F-35 Lightning.
On Tuesday, just outside Moscow, the president was given a tour of the plane that Russia hopes can be a gamechanger for Russian military aviation.
MAKS 2021, a huge international aviation expo, is being hosted at Zhukovsky Airport from July 20-25.
Checkmate is made by historic aerospace manufacturer Sukhoi, a company owned mainly by the Russian government, through the conglomerate Rostec.
According to RIA Novosti, the plane is Russia’s first light multipurpose fifth-generation single-engine fighter, and can fly at a maximum speed of Mach 1.8-2 and reach an altitude of 16.5km.
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The reveal came just one day after Sukhoi released a teaser video, which depicted figures in the United Arab Emirates, India, Vietnam, and Argentina receiving the message “It’s coming,” suggesting that it may be primarily aimed at foreign export. According to reports, it is planned that the first deliveries will begin in 5.5 years.
Last week, the executive director of the Aviaport aviation news agency, Oleg Panteleyev, suggested that the new Russian fighter would rival the US’ fifth-generation F-35 for export, noting that Moscow had invited delegations from 65 different countries to visit the air show.
“There is no doubt that in this decade, Russia will be able to restore the tandem of breakthrough aircraft platforms: the heavy Su-57 [fifth-generation fighter] and a new light plane designed to cope with tactical assignments,” Panteleyev said.
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