Story at a glance

  • The “Checkmate” warplane was unveiled Tuesday at an air show attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • The single-engine aircraft can reportedly fly at a speed of up to two times the speed of sound with a range of 1,864 miles and payload of 16,300 pounds.
  • The jet is expected to take flight for the first time in 2023.

Russia has unveiled the prototype of a new fifth-generation fighter jet dubbed “Checkmate” that aircraft makers say is capable of flying up to twice the speed of sound. 

The Associated Press reports the prospective warplane was revealed Tuesday in Zhukovsky, Russia, at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon air show and was inspected by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The jet was developed by Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi under Russia’s Light Tactical Aircraft program and will be offered to foreign countries for purchase. 

The single-engine aircraft can reportedly fly at a speed of up to two times the speed of sound with a range of 1,864 miles and payload of 16,300 pounds. 


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Sukhoi said the prototype is expected to take flight for the first time in 2023, and deliveries could begin as soon as 2026. Russian officials said the fighter could rival the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter.

“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 opening the show Tuesday.

The price tag for the warplane is somewhere between $25 million and $30 million, and the Russian air force is expected to place an order to snag the supersonic jet. 

Fifth-generation refers to the aircraft’s stealth characteristics, ability to fly at supersonic speeds and other advanced features.


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Published on Jul 21, 2021