dino00 wrote:The aircraft is created with the broadest use of supercomputer technologies. This made it possible to develop an optimal aerodynamic design, achieve high performance and conduct a full cycle of virtual tests even before the first prototype was made.
General Director of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Yuri told in an interview with Interfax columnist Ekaterina Maltseva Slussar.
I think the interview deserves being quoted in full:UAC head: Checkmate fighter will be able to "exclude from the game" attack drones and sixth generation aircraft
Moscow. July 20. INTERFAX - How Russia is going to "turn the tide of the game" on the global arms market with the help of a new fifth-generation single-engine fighter, how this aircraft was created and when it first took to the skies, General Director of the United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) Yury told in an interview with Interfax columnist Yekaterina Maltseva Slussar.
- At MAKS-2021, the UAC shows a new military aircraft. What are the features of the project and what place will the new vehicle take in the corporation's military product line?
- Decent. It is a light tactical aircraft (LTS). Checkmate or "checkmate". Sounds ambitious, but there is a reason for it. The aircraft is fundamentally new, single-engine, with enhanced capabilities for solving shock missions. It is created as a multi-functional platform. We forecast a high export potential. Therefore, the project initially assumes maximum opportunities for adaptation to the needs of a specific client, minimum operating costs, versatility.
Our country has experience of global leadership in the segment of light single-engine vehicles - the legendary MiG-15, MiG-21, the series based on the Su-17 have been literally hits on the international market for many decades. Today we return to this field. We are making a multifunctional, affordable, well-armed aviation complex with the capabilities of tomorrow. Our ambition is to change the existing status quo, in a sense, "turn the tide of the game" on the global market.
- Apparently, this is where the chess allusions come from? Is this such a philosophy of the project?
- Sure. The global market is a competitive space. In principle, this constant rivalry can be compared to a game of chess. In this logic, the LTS is an easy but effective piece in experienced hands, capable of deciding the outcome of the game - check and checkmate. The Russian engineering culture is highly intellectual and strong not only at the applied mathematical level, but also by the ability to strategize. And in chess, we traditionally have everything in order ( laughs ).
But, seriously speaking, LTS has low visibility, unique characteristics of onboard equipment, outstanding range, speed, and carrying capacity for aircraft of its class. At the same time, an important advantage of the new aircraft is the low cost of a flight hour. This is often the defining moment for market success. In our country, it is predicted to be about seven times less than that of an aircraft such as the F-35, and is comparable to the cost of a flight hour of the Gripen NG. At the same time, the combat capabilities of LTS Checkmate are significantly higher than the latter.
The combination of the properties and cost of operating a new aircraft is the basis that allows us to count on a "revolution" in the market.
- How long ago began work on the creation of the aircraft?
- Some years ago. One of the trends in the world market is a steady demand for single-engine light class machines. In addition, the number of potential buyer countries is growing in the world who would like to see in their Air Force a modern, well-equipped aircraft, but at the same time quite versatile and inexpensive to operate. It is clear that not everyone can afford to deploy infrastructure for fifth-generation heavy aviation systems. On the other hand, many countries are considering building up the capabilities of their air forces at the expense of new generation light vehicles. Of course, an important addition for us was the analysis of the results of the use of strike aircraft systems in Syria.
These factors became the input for the creation of a new generation "workhorse" - an aircraft that is optimal for most combat missions, taking into account the "war economy" factor.
- How did you manage to get the first result in such a short time?
- Today we are showing a demonstrator plane. LTS Checkmate is created in a short time on the basis of the scientific and technical groundwork obtained during the development of the Su-57 fighter (by unifying the elements of the airframe, cockpit, on-board systems and engine), taking into account the experience of using aircraft systems in real combat conditions. During the development of the new aircraft, the most modern fully finished and proven equipment of the fifth generation was used.
With the help of the computing power of Russian supercomputers, for the first time, designers were able to carry out calculations and digital tests before the manufacture of prototypes of the aircraft. All this together made it possible to create the aircraft in record time and significantly reduce the cost of development and testing.
- Is this an order or an initiative project? Who are the main partners?
- In order. LTS is a project that is being implemented on an initiative basis. In the world, there is an obvious trend towards an increase in the cost of developing combat aircraft. This is due to the constantly increasing complexity of aviation systems, numerous prototype tests. Often, the introduction of an unjustifiably large number of technical innovations affects the reliability of the aircraft, increases the time for fine-tuning the machine and leads to a significant increase in the cost of the entire program. Experts often cite the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35) as an example. The cost of this program, according to some analysts, is already $ 1.7 trillion and continues to grow.
To avoid such problems, we approached the development of LTS differently. When creating the aircraft, a strict balance was observed between proven, sophisticated technical solutions and innovations. The aircraft is created with the broadest use of supercomputer technologies. This made it possible to develop an optimal aerodynamic configuration, achieve high performance and conduct a full cycle of virtual tests even before the first prototype was made.
In addition, we initially approach the formation of cooperation for the creation of an aircraft in a risk-sharing partnership with key industrial partners. From our point of view, this will make it possible to effectively manage the implementation of this project, use the cooperation potential of the entire Rostec aviation cluster. And at the same time to design and create new blocks of a new aircraft in a short time and at a given product cost. This includes the engine and the fifth-generation cockpit, an advanced complex of fifth-generation onboard equipment, electronic warfare, and other systems developed by the enterprises of the Rostec aviation cluster.
At the same time, already at the design stage, we laid the possibility of seamless implementation in the future of even more advanced units in the aircraft design. Thus, the aircraft is initially created as a designer and has great potential for further modernization. Checkmate can become the base platform for a whole family of aviation complexes.
- Do you already have an understanding of who the potential customers are?
- This project is primarily focused on the external market. On our traditional partners who have experience in operating domestic aircraft. But, of course, to new markets as well. At the same time, taking into account the philosophy laid down in the project and the technical solutions that we propose, LTS can be useful to our anchor customers of the Ministry of Defense and find their place in the system of Russian aerospace forces of the future. The aircraft has already become a hit at the current air show. Delegations from the countries of Southeast Asia, the Middle East and South America are showing great interest in the car.
- Who are your competitors? What unique UAC can offer its potential customers?
- The main competitors for the new project are 4+ + and fifth-generation aircraft. Speaking of the fourth generation, I mean aircraft with an increased resource, the growth of which will reduce the cost of a flight hour and the purchase cost. This applies to both machines in operation due to the extension of the resource, and newly built aircraft of the latest modifications (for example, new modifications of the F-16).
Aircraft of the fifth generation, to which our LTS belongs, are superior to their predecessors in terms of their low visibility characteristics and, as a consequence, in terms of their ability to counter modern and promising air defense systems. Moreover, the cost must be competitive. In this segment, the well-known product of our American colleagues is characterized by an extremely high cost of a flight hour, a purchase price, and at present its deliveries are impossible to a large number of countries for political reasons, unlike LTS.
LTS is an aircraft created using Su-57 technologies, but has a smaller combat radius, payload and operating cost. This is a rational choice for a large number of countries in countering regional threats. The aircraft is capable of effectively destroying land, sea, and air targets, including foreign fifth-generation aircraft.
In addition, our new aircraft is being designed to withstand the sixth generation systems that may appear in the coming decades.
- Did foreign companies participate in cooperation on the creation of a new aircraft? Do you plan to involve them in the next stages of development?
- This is a domestic product. Although, of course, we were guided by the various requirements of our foreign partners in the formation of framework requirements for the new aviation complex.
If foreign partners are interested, we do not exclude the creation of international cooperation. The possibility of technology transfer is traditionally one of the advantages of Russian weapons.
- Do you envision the possibility of creating a two-seater modification of the aircraft?
- Are you sure that the pilot will be needed in a promising aircraft?
- Are you talking about unmanned modification?
- Of course. The aircraft was originally created as a combat platform for a number of vehicles. We are planning to create an optionally piloted and unmanned aircraft modification.
Unmanned modification is not just a tribute to fashion. Already at an early stage of the project, we lay in it ample opportunities for use in network-centric military operations. The aircraft will be able to exchange information and direct other aviation complexes and unmanned aerial vehicles to targets. The use of unmanned versions of the vehicle will allow, among other things, to implement new tactics.
If we go back to your last question, then yes, we are also planning to create a two-seat modification of Checkmate.
- On the question of drones. To what extent do you think the active development of military drones, which have proven their effectiveness in a number of recent conflicts, can be a hindrance to new manned aircraft systems on the market?
- First, as I have already noted, we are planning to create an unmanned version of the LTS. If we talk about cheap shock UAVs that are popular today, then their recent successes should not mislead specialists. So far, their successful use is possible only in the absence of an echeloned air defense system, not to mention fighters.
An aircraft such as the LTS will be able to "exclude from the game" light attack UAVs. To do this, he will be able to use not only a wide range of ASPs with a maximum combat load of 7400 kg, but also built-in electronic warfare systems.
- When are you planning the first Checkmate flight?
- Next year we plan to start static tests of the aircraft. And in a year or two, the plane will be able to make its first flight.