First Flying Checkmate Aircraft Enter Assembly In Russia

The Checkmate display in Dubai includes a ceiling mirror.
Credit: Mark Wagner/Aviation Images

DUBAI—The first flying prototypes of the Sukhoi Checkmate single-engined fighter are now being built at United Aircraft Corp.’s manufacturing plant at Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Siberia, the company’s chief executive said at the Dubai Airshow.

“I would like to hint that the plant at Komsomolsk has started to build a few prototypes for the starting batch,” Yuri Slyusar told reporters after a flashy unveiling event late Nov. 14 inside the Checkmate Pavilion on the static display.

The Rostec-owned subsidiary presented the Checkmate in Dubai only four months after revealing the project at the MAKS airshow outside Moscow. At MAKS the UAE was identified as a key marketing target for the UAC-funded project.

Rostec previously signed a memorandum of understanding with the UAE at the IDEX exhibition in Abu Dhabi in 2017 to jointly work on co-development of a fifth-generation light combat fighter.

The Checkmate project represents Russia’s efforts to move the project forward, and now UAC is hoping to secure direct involvement by the UAE to develop the single-engined fighter.

“I believe that by the end of the exhibition, I will be able to tell you something more definite on the issue,” Slyusar said.

The Checkmate unveiling event came shortly after a meeting between UAC and UAE-based Mubadala and its subsidiary Strata Manufacturing on industrial partnership opportunities. The initial talks focused on the possibility of Mubadala providing composite materials for the MS-21 airliner.

Steve Trimble

Steve covers military aviation, missiles and space for the Aviation Week Network, based in Washington DC.