MOSCOW (AP) – Russian aircraft manufacturers on Tuesday unveiled a prototype of a new fighter jet with stealth capabilities and other advanced features.
Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected the future warplane on display with great fanfare at the MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Show. The air show opened on Tuesday in Zhukovsky, near Moscow.
Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi developed the new fighter as part of the LTS program, a Russian acronym for Light Tactical Aircraft.
Its makers have said the prototype is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023 and deliveries could begin in 2026. They said the new design could be converted to an unmanned version and a two-seater model.
The new aircraft, which has yet to be named, is smaller than Russia’s latest twin-engine stealth fighter Su-57, also built by Sukhoi, and has an engine. It can fly at a speed of 1.8 to 2 times the speed of sound and has a range of 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles), the aircraft’s manufacturers said.
Russian state-owned company Rostec, which includes Sukhoi and other aircraft manufacturers, announced the new aircraft under the Checkmate label, an approach apparently intended to emphasize its superior features.
He said the new warplane belongs to the so-called fifth generation of fighter jets, a definition that assumes stealth characteristics and the ability to cruise at supersonic speed, among other advanced features.
Rostec said the new design includes artificial intelligence features to help the pilot and other innovative technologies. He said the jet was designed to reduce service costs and to be easily adapted to different customer needs.
The future Russian fighter plane seems destined to compete with the American fighter F-35 Lightning II, which entered service in 2015.
Rostec launched an aggressive advertising campaign in the days leading up to the air show, posting a photo of the new hunter hidden under a black tarp with “Do you want to see me naked? written below. He also posted a video featuring adorable customers from India, UAE, Argentina, Vietnam and other countries, reflecting export hopes.
Aircraft spotters flocked to Zhukovsky last week to take photos of the new aircraft as it rolled to a parking spot through the giant airfield that served as the country’s main military aircraft test facility. since the cold war.
The Kremlin has made modernizing the country’s arsenals a key priority amid tensions with the West that followed Moscow‘s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
He also strongly encouraged the development of new passenger jets to compete with planes built by the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing and European Airbus, which currently represent the bulk of Russian carrier fleets.
Russia’s airliner programs have suffered delays amid Western sanctions that have hampered imports of Western engines and other key components. But the country managed to produce a new engine for the new MS-21 airliner, which was also presented at the Zhukovsky show.
“What we saw in Zhukovsky today demonstrates that Russian aviation has great potential for development and that our aviation industries continue to create new, competitive aircraft models,” Putin said in a speech at the opening of the show.
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