Russia's UAC Patents 'Checkmate' Fighter Jet with Replaceable Cockpits

Modular Design Allows Interchangeable Cockpits for Single-Seat, Double-Seat, or Unmanned Configurations
  • bureau
  • 10:15 AM, December 6, 2023
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Russia's UAC Patents 'Checkmate' Fighter Jet with Replaceable Cockpits
Checkmate stealth fighter @Rostec

Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) has patented a modular modification for the Su-75 Checkmate light tactical fighter jet, introducing the capability to interchange the cockpit between single-seat, double-seat, or unmanned configurations based on mission requirements.

The patent, obtained by the government-controlled TASS news agency, describes the Su-75 Checkmate as a "single-engine tactical jet with a small radar signature." The modification involves replacing the front part of the fuselage, laden with onboard equipment, allowing for at least two interchangeable front parts with diverse functions, equipment, and appearances. This modular design does not impact the aircraft's aerodynamics or radar characteristics. The universal platform aims to "radically change the functions of the whole aviation complex while maintaining the transportation capabilities of the basic platform."

The patent highlights cost efficiency, allowing a single aircraft to be modified for various missions, reducing material and labor costs.

The Su-75 Checkmate, developed by the Sukhoi Company, features open architecture and unique artificial intelligence technologies. As a stealth aircraft, it can carry air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles internally, boasting a payload exceeding 7 tons, a speed of Mach 1.8, and a combat radius of 3,000km. The fighter is capable of simultaneously engaging six targets, with the development batch expected in 2026.

The modular fighter concept revolves around the fuselage base's adaptability to various mission configurations, providing essential capabilities with interchangeable sensors and weapons. This modularity allows for efficient use of space, accommodating power generation, communication, and data-crunching hardware. The concept aims to reduce overall costs in procurement, operations, and training while enhancing response capabilities to diverse threats.

The feasibility of modular fighter design was enabled by fly-by-wire control systems, replacing traditional control mechanisms with electrical wires. The recent imperative for modular fighters arises from the evolving role of fighter aircraft, serving in reconnaissance, SEAD, EW, and drone control, necessitating diverse communication and data processing hardware.

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