on Jul. 15, 2021, Photos started circulating on Twitter of an aircraft believed to be Russia’s new 5th generation stealth fighter jet, but it is unclear this is a mock-up of a future fighter or real prototype.
A Russian next-generation single-engine fighter jet has been spotted at the Zhukovsky International Airport outside Moscow.
The jet, covered by black canvas, was rolled to the static display at the MAKS 2021 show, which starts next week. The appearance of the mysterious aircraft did not come completely unexpected. On Jul. 11, Rostec posted a mysterious tweet that teased an announcement.
Just this week, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC, part of the state tech corporation Rostec) reported that it plans to unveil the new military aircraft on the first day of the MAKS-2021 international aerospace show.
“Russia is one of the few countries of the world that possesses full-cycle technologies to produce advanced aircraft systems and is a recognized trendsetter in creating combat planes. We are convinced that the new product developed by UAC specialists will evoke a genuine interest both in our country and in other regions of the world, including among our rivals abroad,” the press office said in a statement.
Also, UAC tweeted: “Everything is easier than it seems. #Checkmate. Something seems to be on the way.”
Some sources said that the new fighter will be called Checkmate.
Rostec also opened the project’s website, where a countdown of the plane’s debut show on July 20 began overnight to Tuesday, the statement says.
In addition, earlier in May 2021, the TASS news agency reported that the Russian defense industry is developing a next-generation single-engine fighter.
According to TASS, Russian state aerospace company Sukhoi is now developing new light tactical fighter aircraft.
“The Sukhoi company is developing a single-engine light tactical plane with the takeoff weight of up to 18 tonnes. The plane’s maximum speed will be above 2 Mach. It will also have super-maneuverability and improved takeoff and landing performance, thanks to a thrust vector control engine. The plane’s thrust-to-weight ratio will be above 1,” the news agency reported, citing an industry source.
In general, a single-engine aircraft is better in terms of cost and (less) maintenance requirement and Russia plans to develop new light combat aircraft to replace the aging fleet of Soviet-era MiG-29 fighters and Su-25 close-support aircraft.
Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov told reporters in December 2020 that the company was working on the concept of an advanced single-engine light-and medium-class piloted and unmanned combat plane.
“Work is underway to develop a combat aviation system of the future in its light and medium classes. Under the design, this may be a universal platform in the manned and unmanned versions. The company is working on the concept and the operational requirements for such a platform. We are doing this on our own initiative so far, without [federal] budget funds,” the Rostec chief said.