Russia is develioping a new single-engine, stealth fighter jet under the project name “Checkmate”.
The warplane is expected to take to the skies in 2023 with a first batch due to be produced in 2026. Russia plans to produce 300 of the aircraft over 15 years once serial production begins.
President Vladimir Putin has become personally got a sneak peek of a new Sukhoi fifth-generation lightweight single-engine fighter jet at an air show just outside of Moscow on Tuesday.
“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,” Putin said in a speech at the show’s opening.
However, aviation experts noted that new Russian fighter design is very familiar, looking like the Northrop’s Low Cost Fighter concept (circa early 1990s), a precursor to the YF-23 twin-engine stealth fighter.
So that’s Sukhoi Checkmate on the left and Northrop’s Low Cost Fighter concept (circa early 1990s) on the right. I’m not accusing Sukhoi of ripping off an obscure, discarded Northrop design. It’s interesting to spot the similarities and differences, and then consider the reasons. pic.twitter.com/dzWFpv8Fr0
— Steve Trimble (@TheDEWLine) July 20, 2021
In fact, it matches the look of an Northrop MRF-54E configuration released by Nortrop at Dayton Air Show in 1991.
Upps 😲 … just found at the Secret Projects Forum posted by @Bounce, the Northrop MRF-54E.
(Photo by Tony Chong) pic.twitter.com/fZnxYW1m2v
— @Rupprecht_A (@RupprechtDeino) July 20, 2021
Its similarities to MRF-54E concepts does not mean the Checkmate is a direct copy or knock off. Still, the new Russian single-engine fighter clearly echoes designs dating back to the American low cost stealth fighter competition of the 1990s.