The Wall Street Journal worries. To such a degree that it felt the need to write about Russia's "Checkmate" (presently also known as SU-75) and quote Rostec's big Honcho Sergey Chemezov.
At Russia’s premier expo for military aircraft in July, Russian President Vladimir Putin inspected a prototype jet that is designed to take on more than enemy fighters. The lightweight stealth plane also is meant to cause geopolitical headaches for the U.S. The LTS Checkmate would be the world’s second single-engine fighter plane to incorporate the most sophisticated radar-evasion and command systems. The only other plane in this category, the F-35, manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp. , is the most advanced plane in the U.S. arsenal.
Chemezov flatly denies any geopolitical aspect to Checkmate, but he is just being polite--of course there is. While WSJ tries to put a positive spin on F-35 by making risible statements such as this:
The F-35 is in demand internationally, providing Washington a viable defense export that also helps advance U.S. security and diplomatic aims. Israel and Japan are among the 15 countries that have received the F-35 or reached agreements to buy it.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room cannot be ignored: F-35 which is a $100 million a pop combat failure loses outright on three (among very many) points:
1. It cannot fly properly, let alone supersonic, while you can bet your ass on Russian-made combat aircraft of any generation being able to fly, especially on the Izd. 30 engine with thrust vectoring. Do we need to go into discussing how Russian planes fly?
2. The issue of price. This is not even fair to compare.
3. Let's drop this "Stealth" BS. Low or very low observability doesn't cloak you into "invisibility" bubble, especially against modern fused sensor suite on any modern combat aircraft, let alone modern AD systems. Turks can testify to it.
So, yes, this Checkmate thing is designed to win market while providing a much better combat performance for a fraction of F-35 price. It is GEOPOLITICAL by default because it makes US clientele think twice about what they are buying from the US for their defense needs. Ask Germans, they acted geopolitically: