The Su-75 appears to at least have some promise. It appears to be less expensive than both the F-35 and Russia’s own Su-57 stealth aircraft. However, as one expert pointed out, a number of issues could prevent this fighter plane from ever actually taking to the air: Significant rumors about the Su-75 stealth fighter’s capabilities have surfaced ever since it was initially displayed at the 2021 MAKS Airshow outside of Moscow. The fighter is still in the early stages of development. Although the Su-75 appears to have remarkable on-paper capabilities, it has to be seen whether reality will support Russia’s intentions.
There is no doubt that Russia wants to transform the Checkmate into a fighter that can compete with cutting-edge aircraft used by Western air forces, but there are obvious limitations to Russian production capacity and technological know-how that may present insurmountable obstacles to achieving this goal.
What is the Su-75 Checkmate allegedly capable of, according to Russia?
It’s critical to first comprehend the capabilities that the Su-75’s designers at the Sukhoi test bureau assert the aircraft will possess. The CEO of Russia’s state-owned defence business Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, claims that the Checkmate will have a maximum combat load of more than 16,500 pounds and a range of around 1,800 miles without external fuel tanks. Rostec also controls United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Sukhoi. Additionally, according to Chemezov, flying the Su-75 will be seven times less expensive per hour than in the United States. He referred to the F-35 stealth fighter as its key selling point. According to Russian media, it will have a single rotary nozzle jet engine, which can be seen in the few images of the mockup of the aircraft displayed at the 2021 MAKS show as being situated at the base of the Checkmate’s V-shaped tail. The Su-75 is slated to make its first flight in 2023, according to UAC chairman Yuri Slyusar, albeit little information about the plane’s development has been made publicly available. According to reports, the aircraft is built primarily for export and is capable of transporting contemporary Russian air-to-air, air-to-surface, anti-radiation, guided, and unguided bombs. Dmitri Shugaev, Director of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation in Russia, claims that the country’s defence sector plans to sell the Checkmate to clients in the Middle East, East Asia, and Latin America.
What will the Su-75 be able to do in reality?
It is unclear how a similarly ambitious project developed by the same design bureau, manufactured by the same aircraft conglomerate, and subjected to the same harsh sanctions from the West would fare any differently given the lackluster development of Russia’s Su-57 Felon to date, which is similarly positioned as a highly advanced next-generation stealth fighter. For instance, assertions made by UAC and Sukhoi officials that the Su-75 will have a cutting-edge engine are identical to those made about the Su-57. The initial flight-ready examples of the Su-57 are powered by Saturn AL-41F1 turbofan engines, which were created in the 1980s, rather than cutting-edge new engines. Important issues about Russia’s capacity to get sophisticated Su-75 parts, such as AESA radar systems and the composite materials utilised in its construction, also need to be addressed. Even without the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, which sparked a wave of new Western economic and technological sanctions, the Su-75 would have had a difficult time creating or getting the essential parts for some of the Checkmate’s most cutting-edge technological features. Post-invasion sanctions imposed on the West are intended to place considerable technological barriers in the way of Russia’s defence sector, which, to put it mildly, will undoubtedly dampen the development of the Checkmate. Russian engineers at UAC and Sukhoi have not provided much information about where the cost savings will come from, despite the fact that Russian systems and aircraft have a long history of being less expensive than their Western counterparts.
For the time being, the only thing that outside observers can do regarding the Su-75 of Russia is to wait and see how its development plays out. The writing on the wall shows that the development and production of the Checkmate on the schedule desired by Russian officials would face significant challenges.