New Russian hunter design first discovered (updated)

We also see that the aircraft has a sliding bubble canopy like the Su-57 Felon, the advanced heavy fighter with which this design likely shares a lot of subsystem architecture and other technology. The housing of the basic infrared search and tracking system is mounted in front of the canopy like all modern Russian hunters. We also see that the aircraft does indeed have a pair of flared tail units at an angle instead of a traditional vertical and horizontal stabilizer arrangement. This configuration can provide great maneuverability, reduced radar signature, and helps reduce infrared signature in many aspects. It should be noted that a number of hunter concepts have sought to take advantage of this configuration, including the Advanced joint strike technology (JAST) designs the United States explored in the 1990s that led to the Joint Strike Fighter. The YF-23 really put it to good use. You can read all about this setup as it was used on the YF-23 here.

The aircraft has a chine line that surrounds its forward fuselage and forms a Leading Edge Root Extension (LERX). It also appears to have something resembling a boat tail, with “arrows” on either side of the main engine supporting the tails. The wing looks like a modified delta design with “chopped” wing tips. We will have to wait for more angles to give a better analysis of these details and especially of its plan shape.

The Checkmate jet is painted in a mottled gray and taupe scheme on its upper fuselage with a baby blue underside. This concept of back-shading is common in modern Russian aircraft and most closely resembles the schemes worn by the Su-57, which is not surprising. He wears a bort number of Blue 75 (maybe for Su-75?) And the Russian red star on his tail.

The biggest new detail, beyond the entrance, that we see in the image is what looks like an elongated, relatively narrow, compliant weapon bay located forward of the landing gear. With just one angle at our disposal, it’s hard to draw many separate conclusions, but it seems better suited to a single air-to-air missile, possibly at a shorter range. This is a design philosophy similar to that of the Su-57, which has dedicated shell-shaped bays for a short-range air-to-air missile on either side. Presumably, given the thicker dimensions of its center fuselage section, the Checkmate will also have a ventral weapon bay, with a serpentine duct carrying air from the inlet to the engine, and above a bay. weapons.

The nose looks quite chunky from the angle we see it here, which would limit the size of the EASA network it could have, at least in the vertical plane, although it could offset part of that area horizontally. A better angle could change this analysis.

The side view also indicates that the aircraft has sufficient room for internal fuel. It will be interesting to see the range claims for this single engine design.

As to whether this is a real flyable plane, I doubt it. It looks like an elaborate mockup, but we’ll have to wait for more images to better define how complete it is.

It is also interesting that in the background there is what looks like a KH-59MK anti-ship missile. It will likely be part of a larger display of exportable weapons that the Checkmate is supposed to be able to deploy.

Finally, regarding the issue of low observability, or at least the degree of optimization of the aircraft design, my initial view is that it will end up being somewhat similar in concept to the Su-57. , taking a balanced design approach dictated by Russia’s capabilities in design, manufacturing and materials science that are low in cost and performance. The aircraft will have some optimization for reduced signature of the frontal hemisphere, where it is most critical. I don’t think it tries to compete directly with American stealth designs, that’s not the point, but includes a reduced radar signature where it matters most. Ultimately, the manufacturer’s sneaky claims won’t be as good as those for procurement and operating costs, maintenance, and type development funding, which will be substantial.

As I have said in the past, this aircraft is probably an export product response to the advanced light to medium weight fighter designs from China, South Korea and Turkey, to name just the major ones. actors. These planes, all of which exhibit some degree of low observability, if they go into production and reach the export market, could erode Russia’s share of the fighter market. Therefore, the “checkmate”.

We will continue to update this article with more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, what do you see of interest, let us know in the comments below.


Rostec released another teaser video with a quick view of the rear, including a round jagged exhaust and a bit of the “booms” and tail tail, as well as a frontal silhouette. There appear to be large rectangular structures at the base of the tails. Whether it’s tail actuators, a sensor, or both, or something else, is unclear. Rostec says the jet will be officially unveiled tomorrow when MAKS 2021 opens.

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