Russian Checkmate Jet’s Design Exploits Lockheed F-117A’s Weakness

  • Our Bureau
  • 04:33 AM, March 25, 2022
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Russian Checkmate Jet’s Design Exploits Lockheed F-117A’s Weakness
F-117A Nighthawk flies over Nellis AFB in Nevada in 2002 @U.S. DoD

Russian developers took into account ‘weaknesses’ of the America’s F-22 jet’s predecessor, the F-117A Nighthawk, while designing its brand-new single-engine Checkmate fighter.

The information was revealed in a patent published by Russia’s Federal Intellectual Property Service, government-owned TASS news agency reported. It compares the Checkmate with its U.S. counterpart F-117A featuring low radar visibility. "This aircraft (F-117) has a number of disadvantages such as poor take-off and landing characteristics, as well as insufficient stability and controllability in flight," the patent reads.

The Checkmate developers’ task was to eliminate the shortcomings of other known aircraft of this class.

"The invention’s technical result was the achievement of the aircraft’s better stability and controllability without compromising radar invisibility characteristics," the statement reads.

Specifications of the two jets: F-117 and Checkmate

The F-117 is a single-seat subsonic tactical strike stealth aircraft built by Lockheed Martin. It was intended for covert penetration through the enemy's air defense systems and attacks on strategically important ground targets.

Russian Checkmate Jet’s Design Exploits Lockheed F-117A’s Weakness
Checkmate jet @UAC

Its first flight was on June 18, 1981. A total of 64 planes were built. The last serial plane was delivered to the U.S.A.F. in 1990. The plane participated in five armed conflicts including Operation Desert Storm in 1991. In 2008, all aircraft of this type were withdrawn from service for financial reasons. Its successor is the F-22 Raptor.

The F-117 owed its low visibility mainly to the specific angular shape of the hull composite and radar-absorbing materials and special coating.

Developed by Sukhoi Company, an affiliate of Russian state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the Checkmate was first unveiled at MAKS-2021 air show. The fighter’s foreign presentation took place at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

The Checkmate will make its first flight and its serial production is due to begin in 2025.

This Russian jet reportedly features open architecture adjustable to customer requirements and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. It boasts low-visibility technologies and is equipped with an in-fuselage compartment for air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons. The jet’s payload exceeds 7 tons and it can hit up to six targets at once. The single-engine plane’s speed is Mach 1.8 and combat radius, 3,000km.

Russian Checkmate Jet’s Design Exploits Lockheed F-117A’s Weakness
F-22 Raptors @U.S. DoD
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