Russian Checkmate Jet Design Takes Advantage Of Lockheed F117A’s Weaknesses

When designing the new single-engine Checkmate fighter, Russian designers took into account the ‘weaknesses’ of the F-22’s predecessor, the F-117A Nighthawk. According to the government-owned TASS news agency, the information was revealed in a patent published by Russia’s Federal Intellectual Property Service.

It contrasts the Checkmate with its American counterpart, the F-117A, which has poor radar visibility. According to the patent, “this aircraft (F-117) has a number of shortcomings, including poor take-off and landing characteristics, as well as insufficient stability and controllability in flight.”

The developers of the Checkmate were tasked with eliminating the flaws of other known aircraft in this class.

“The technical upshot of the idea was improved aircraft stability and controllability without compromising radar invisibility qualities,” according to the release.

The F-117 and the Checkmate have different specifications.

Lockheed Martin’s F-117 is a single-seat subsonic tactical strike stealth aircraft. It was designed for stealth strikes on strategically significant ground targets and penetration of the enemy’s air defence systems.

It took off for the first time on June 18, 1981. There were a total of 64 planes built. In 1990, the United States Air Force received the final series plane. The plane took part in five military operations, including Desert Storm in 1991. For economical reasons, all aircraft of this class were retired from service in 2008. The F-22 Raptor is its successor.

The F-117’s limited visibility was due mostly to the hull composite’s angular design, as well as radar-absorbing materials and a unique coating. The Checkmate was initially shown at the MAKS-2021 air show by Sukhoi Company, a subsidiary of Russian state-owned United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The fighter made its international debut at the Dubai Airshow 2021.

The Checkmate will take to the skies for the first time in 2025, with serial manufacturing set to commence in 2025.

This Russian plane is said to have an open architecture that can be customised to meet customer needs as well as artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. It features low-visibility technologies and an air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons compartment in the fuselage.

The jet can carry a payload of more than 7 tonnes and hit up to six targets at once. The single-engine plane has a Mach 1.8 speed and a battle radius of 3,000 kilometres.

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