Russia debuts a new fighter jet, Putin praises country’s Air Force

Ivan Novikov-Dvinsky/AP Photo

On Tuesday, Russian aircraft manufacturers displayed a prototype of a new fighter jet with stealth capabilities and other innovative technologies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin viewed the potential warplane on display at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon with great excitement. The air show kicked up on Tuesday in Zhukovsky, a suburb of Moscow.

Sukhoi, a Russian aircraft manufacturer, produced the new fighter as part of the LTS program, which stands for Light Tactical Aircraft in Russian.

The prototype is expected to fly for the first time in 2023, with deliveries beginning in 2026, according to its makers. They claimed that the new design could be transformed into a two-seat variant and a non-piloted version.

The new aircraft, which has yet to be given a name, is smaller than Sukhoi’s latest Su-57 two-engine stealth fighter and only has one engine. The jet’s developers claim it can travel at 1.8-2 times the speed of sound and has a range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles).

The new plane has been dubbed Checkmate by Russian state corporation Rostec, which includes Sukhoi and other aircraft manufacturers. This approach appears to be meant to emphasize the plane’s exceptional attributes.

According to the company, the new warplane is part of the so-called fifth generation of fighter jets, which includes stealth capabilities and the capacity to cruise at supersonic speeds, among other sophisticated features.

The new design, according to Rostec, has artificial intelligence components to aid the pilot as well as other cutting-edge technologies. According to the company, the jet was created to save service costs and be easily adaptable to changing customer requirements.

The upcoming Russian fighter jet appears to be aimed at the F-35 Lightning II fighter jet, which entered service in 2015.

In the days leading up to the air show, Rostec mounted an aggressive advertising campaign, sharing a photo of the new fighter covered beneath a black tarpaulin with the words “Wanna see me naked?” scrawled beneath it. It also produced a video with adoring consumers from India, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Vietnam, and other countries, indicating that it aims to expand its export market.

Last week, plane spotters went to Zhukovsky to photograph the new plane as it was taxied to a parking location across the massive airfield, which has functioned as the country’s primary military aviation test center since the Cold War.

Despite tensions with the West following Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, the Kremlin has made upgrading of the country’s arsenals a top priority.

It has also pushed for the creation of new passenger jets to compete with the planes constructed by Boeing and Airbus in the United States and Europe, which now make up the majority of Russian airlines’ fleets.

Western sanctions have delayed the supply of Western engines and other essential components, causing delays in Russia’s airliner plans. However, the country was able to develop a new engine for the new MS-21 passenger airliner, which was also on display during the Zhukovsky expo.

In a speech at the show’s opening, Putin remarked, “What we saw in Zhukovsky today demonstrates that the Russian aviation has a big potential for development and our aircraft making industries continue to create new competitive aircraft designs.”

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