Russia’s new fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, Checkmate, has been described as a domestic jet that would be sold internationally. This raises the question as to which countries might be potential Russian customers.
Will Russia sell its Checkmate jets to the UAE, which has expressed interest in the F-35 fighter jet? Perhaps it might even offer its Checkmate jets to Iran, Turkey and other countries hoping to generate a fifth-generation capability.
It would make sense for Russia to foster an F-35-like coalition of countries operating Checkmate jets to counter the kind of massive data-sharing attack network the multi-national F-35 aircraft presents. However, there simply may not be anywhere near as many countries that are willing to become a Checkmate customer sufficient to produce a counterbalance to the global allied reach of the F-35 program.
What about India? India is of course a U.S. ally that is committed to nonalignment ideals. The country is regarded as an extremely vital component of U.S. efforts to deter and contain China. Why doesn’t India have the F-35 jet? It is notable that several U.S.-friendly countries have acquired Russian-built weapons systems. For instance, Turkey and India have invested in Russian-made S-400 missile systems, which is something Pentagon officials did not like.
The question of relevance weighs heavily upon the performance parameters and potential promise of the Checkmate jet, such as its ability to truly match or rival global fifth-generation aircraft.