Russia is holding its Army 2022 arms expo event outside Moscow this week. The annual event is an arms market for mostly third-world countries where Russia shows off its latest(for them anyway) hardware to countries unable to afford or not allowed to buy US and European weaponry, generally because of human rights abuses in back home.  The Army-2022 Expo is a nationwide event, mainly in Patriot Park in Moscow, but smaller events are held at the Alabino armor proving grounds, the Kubinka airfield, in all of Russia’s Military Districts, the Northern Fleet headquarters, and in more than 30 Russian regions.

Russia is one of the world’s largest arms exporters by volume, but not by revenue, offering bargain basement prices compared to US weapons. A fully loaded Russian T-90 tank with pinstripes and floormats retails for about 4.5 million, roughly two-thirds the price of a bare-bones, US-made M1A Abrams tank. That is if your country can get permission to even buy one from the US State Department. Poland had wanted the M1A in its tank forces for at least a decade.  In order to get them, a war had to break out in Ukraine and Poland had to just about give away 240 of its inventory of 328 T-72m tanks to Ukraine. Get this, the Abrams they are getting from the US are used.  They are clean, low mileage(mostly driven in the desert)one-owner tanks with clear titles, but still.

The US does not part with Abrams tanks very easily.


The Checkmate Bluff

In 2021, Russia debuted the Sukhoi SU-57 Checkmate, their supposedly 5th generation fighter.  It’s in the prototype stage and will make its first test flight in 2024.  At the Army-2022 expo, Russia announced that the domestic United Aircraft Corporation(UAC) will build four of the prototypes to fly.  The SU-75 is being offered as an export-only fighter with a single engine configuration.  According to an article in the Russian state news agency TASS, these prototypes will begin flying in 2024, maybe.

The Checkmate is being offered as a counter to the Lockheed Martin  F-35 Lightning and there are plans to introduce an unmanned version as well. However, a statement by the company CEO suggests buyers don’t like the price and want a cheaper model,

“Over the time since the project’s presentation at the MAKS 2021 airshow, work has been organized to get feedback from potential customers. Aside from the customers’ additional requirements, work has been carried out to optimize the cost and analyze certain technical solutions, which has made it possible to substantially raise the competitive edge and the commercial attractiveness and reduce technical risks in creating the domestic single-engine airplane,”