United Aircraft is pitching its single-engined Su-75 to export markets as an affordable, fifth-generation type that shares characteristics with Sukhoi’s Su-57, and the company went further to confirm that the first flight has been planned for 2023 and it will be ready to enter production in 2026 as most of the system including its avionics and AL-41FI engine is already in production. what raised several eyebrows was when Rostec claimed that the unit price of Checkmate will be around $25 to $30 million, which is not even half the cost of the American F-35A that has a flyaway cost of $78 million.

Russian 5th generation Su-75 Checkmate fighter jet could work out to be cheaper than India’s Tejas Mk1A that has a flyaway unit cost of $41 million and China’s JF-17 Block-III that has a flyaway cost of $32 million per unit. Su-75 will beat if not all but most of the legacy 4th generation fighter jets that are still under production in terms of flyaway cost, but how did Russians manage to offer a 5th generation jet at a price of 4th generation that was manufactured in the 90s?.

Well, the answer to this claim that it will have a flyaway cost of $25 to $30 million, lies in the subsequent announcement. The cost mentioned is for the bare bone manned aircraft that will be based on the Su-75 but will not include many of the technologies that were advertised. Rostec offered customization of the Su-75 as per export customers’ needs that could require additional foreign development investment from the interested customer that will shot up the price when actual aircraft goes into production.

It is estimated that the price might hover around $60-70 million per unit, which will still make it the cheapest 5th generation offering but interested countries should not forget that Russians have a habit of offering crazy prices that never translates into the final contract as per initial advertised price. For instance, FGFA based on Su-57 was supposed to cost India almost little over Su-30MKI that has a $62 million flyaway unit cost but, when IAF factored in the foreign development investment required to make FGFA out of Su-57, the unit price was over $120-140 million per unit.

Su-75 Checkmate fighter jet won’t cost cheaper than India’s Tejas Mk1A and Tejas Mk2 unit cost but won’t be surprised if many in the Indian mainstream media do claim it, so has to target Indigenous fighter programs next or even procurement of the Dassault Rafale that has a flyaway unit cost of $120 million.

Note: Above Unit cost mentioned are rough Estimates and only includes Flyaway unit costs and not that of Weapons package and additional spares, training and infrastructure costs.

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Article by TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR , cannot be republished Partially or Full without consent from Writer or