Russia’s Checkmate fighter jet is primarily an export product, with Rostec staking the plane’s success on a steady stream of market demand. But who would buy the new fighter, and why?
Judging by its stated specifications and features, Checkmate is a fast, stealthy, high-flying, and light multi-role fighter with an impressively large payload for its class.
And yet, what really sets it apart is its staggeringly low price of $25-30 million per model. This makes Checkmate arguably a far better value proposition than the two competitors that it’s being positioned against: the French Dassault Rafale and Swedish JAS-39 Gripen.
But there are some caveats to consider, with the first and most obvious being the Checkmate’s wildly optimistic price tag. At $25-30 million per model, the Checkmate would cost less than half that of the less advanced Su-35S while also being substantially cheaper than Russia’s other fifth-generation fighter, the Su-57.
The manufacturer, Rostec subsidiary Sukhoi, says it slashed Checkmate’s costs with AI-assisted production methods and by recycling some of the technologies previously developed for the Su-35S and Su-57