Riyadh: Even after the Ukraine war, Russia is continuously adding new weapons to its arsenal. However, Russia, which is among the world’s top arms exporting countries, is now facing difficulty in selling its weapons. Meanwhile, Russia has showcased its deadliest fighter jet Sukhoi 75 Checkmate in the World Defense Show 2024 organized in Saudi Arabia to woo the Muslim countries of the Gulf. Apart from this, Russia has shown the world a glimpse of the power of IL-76 cargo aircraft and MiG-35 fighter jet. On one hand, while Russia is busy wooing the Gulf countries for Sukhoi 75, India is maintaining distance from this fifth generation fighter aircraft.
This defense show has been organized in Saudi Arabia between 4 to 8 February. Russian company United Aircraft Corporation has also participated in this, which manufactures Sukhoi 75 Checkmate and MiG 35 fighter jets. Company CEO Yuri Slyusar said that the Middle East is an important region and many countries have shown interest in its products. Sukhoi 75 is a light strategic aircraft which was presented to the world for the first time in the year 2021. It was also shown at the Dubai Air Show in the year 2021. This Russian fighter jet is said to be of the fifth generation and cannot be detected by radar.
Russia needs money, keeping an eye on India
Russia is still developing Checkmate and the Putin government is preparing it for export around the world. However, Russia is trying to get financial help for this fighter jet. Earlier, Russia had sought India’s help in the development of the aircraft but New Delhi had distanced itself from it. Now the Russian defense industry is pinning its highest hopes on the UAE, which can buy this aircraft in the future. Russia also introduced its MiG 35, which it considers a 4++ category fighter aircraft. This aircraft is designed to perform wonders in the highly contested battlefield.
While Russia is looking for a partner country for the Checkmate fighter jet, it is still maintaining distance from India. India had earlier decided to cooperate with Russia but later backed out. India’s two biggest enemies China and Pakistan have now bet on fifth generation fighter aircraft, while India is still lagging behind. Despite this, India is hesitant in buying Russian fighter jets. Russia is luring India with low expenses to make it its partner in developing its new fighter aircraft Checkmate. Sukhoi 75 is being built to compete with the American fighter aircraft F-35 and Chinese fighter aircraft FC-31 but the project is getting delayed. Pakistan is also buying FC-31 fighter jets from China.
Defense experts divided on Russian fighter jet
Meanwhile, many defense experts consider India’s involvement in this project beneficial, while some advise caution. He says that now it should be considered whether India wants to be a part of this project, for which even the first prototype fighter jet has not been made. Should India help in making Sukhoi 75? In this regard, former Air Force officer Air Marshal Anil Khosla says that many things have to be seen. He said, ‘It is important to calculate the advantages and disadvantages before taking any decision. Russia needs money and partners, will India benefit greatly from this? At the same time, we also have to think whether this will affect the goal of ‘self-reliant India’.” Former Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria had clearly said in 2019, ‘There is no possibility of acquiring foreign fifth generation fighter aircraft now or in the near future. There are no plans. The fifth generation aircraft for the Indian Air Force will be the indigenous AMCA, work on which has already started.”