In July, Russia launched the fifth-generation stealth fighter Su-75 Checkmate at MAKS-2021. However, whether the Su-75 can enter the service of the Russian Air Force or only for the export market, there is still a lot of controversies.
Some defense experts believe that the development of the Su-75 Checkmate fighter is mainly for export to foreign countries. According to the information, the UAE is the investor in the project and may become the first customer.
The Su-75 Checkmate fighter is hoped by Russia to inherit the success of the MiG-29 in the export market. However, the MiG-29 is a medium-sized twin-engine fighter; design characteristics are completely different from the criteria of the Su-75.
Since the 1970s, the leaders of the Soviet Air Force have clearly shown a preference for twin-engine fighters. And for almost 50 years, the Soviet Union/Russia did not develop a single-engine fighter to enter their service.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the MiG aircraft company also modified the MiG-29 to the single engine MiG-33, along with the same avionics as that of the MiG-29. However, this design failed, when there were no customers. The Russian Air Force did not buy MiG-33 because the number of MiG-29s in stock from the Soviet era was too much.
But with the Su-75 single-engine fighter version probably different, experts say, Russia will probably buy this new fighter, because this will be a low-cost option. The Su-75 will join the Su-57 to become a pair of heavy-light fighters, operating in the style of far-near, high-low. And when bought a lot, the price of Su-75 will also decrease even more.
The first significant sign that Russia intends to purchase Su-75 appeared in early September when Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov announced that Russia will not rely on foreign investment to finance support project Su-75 fighter aircraft.
Mr. Manturov also added that the Russian Air Force will buy Su-75; the reason is this type of light fighter, Russia is currently vacant. At the same time, foreign customers can invest in the development of a two-seat version of the Su-75, according to their requirements, and Russia is ready to invite foreign partners to participate.
As for the US website Forbes, the success of fighter aircraft like Russia’s Su-75 Checkmate, as a key export product, is still an open question. Because the F-35 currently monopolizes most of the stealth fighter market in the world.
Besides, Korea has also developed a low-cost stealth fighter KF-21 with export potential; The plane could fly for the first time next year, which could pose a major threat to Russia’s exports of this new fighter. A “proof” that may not be “bright” for the future of the Su-75 is that, currently, there are not too many signals that countries that do not have stealth fighters like F-35, are actively asking for other stealth fighters.
Another “mirror” is China’s FC-31 (or J-31) stealth fighter; this type of fighter is also export-oriented from the beginning, but has not yet found any customers; although the first flight of this type of aircraft was 9 years ago. While the Su-75 is still on the drawing board.
Of course, the Russian Air Force can buy in large quantities this new type of fighter, to replace the number of medium-sized MiG-29 fighters, which are nearing the end of their service life and make up for the shortfall of the Su- 57.
Currently, the Russian Air Force has ordered 78 Su-57 fighters, but the production rate is very slow and currently only a few Su-57s are in service. In theory, the Su-75 will be a strong complement to the Su-57; but do not expect, this light fighter will replace the role of Su-57.
It is possible that the Su-75 Checkmate, will be the next 5th generation fighter to enter service in the world. Currently, only the US F-22, F-35 and Chinese J-20, have been mass-produced, for military use.
The Russian Air Force purchased the first 5th generation fighter Su-57 at the end of 2020, and it is expected that the Russian military will be equipped with only 5 Su-57s by the end of 2021. It is still uncertain when any number of Su-57s can make up a complete squadron.
But one thing is for sure, the Su-75 will be the lightest and cheapest fifth generation fighter to date; at the same time it is also the second fifth generation fighter, not using twin engines after the US F-35; Its future is still difficult to predict.