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Check or raise? (Opinion)

13th August 2021 - 09:00 GMT | by Tim Martin in London


Sukhoi unveiled a prototype of Checkmate at the MAKS 2021 air show in July. (Photo: Rostec)

Sukhoi has ambitious plans for Checkmate, its new fighter aircraft design. However, questions remain over whether the company will be able to achieve its export goals, especially considering the poor track record of its previous fifth-generation jet.

It is less than a month since Sukhoi unveiled its Checkmate light tactical fighter at the MAKS air show in Zhukovsky and there is still much disquiet about who will buy it. Now the fanfare – including an inspection of the aircraft by Russian President Vladimir Putin – has subsided, interest turns to whether a new fifth-generation jet, with a noticeably modest price tag of $25 million to $30 million, can convince export customers to place orders.

Banking on such business looks to be a huge risk for Sukhoi, which does not need reminding that the Su-57, first launched …

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