Two Seat Stealth Fighter on Way: J-20 Variant
January 17, 2019
China's most advanced stealth fighter jet J-20 could be developed into a bomber, electric warfare (EW) aircraft and a carrier-based variant. All current stealth fighter jets feature single-seat, so the potential J-20 variant might become the first two-seat stealth fighter jet in the world, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Wednesday. Chinese military experts said as latest reports suggested a two-seat version of the warplane is under development.
On a highly digitalized future battlefield, large amounts of information can easily overflow the entire control panel of an aircraft. Having a second pilot and a second panel sharing part of the work will be advantageous, the report said.
Yang Wei, the chief designer of the J-20, said in March 2018 that the aircraft will be serialized and see its combat capability constantly upgraded, People's Daily reported.
Outfitting the warplane with a second seat allows it to play multiple roles in addition to winning air superiority, Song said, noting that the two-seat version can be further developed into a tactical bomber or EW aircraft.
The US had a similar plan with its stealth fighter jet the F-22 due to its supersonic speed and potential to penetrate airspace without being detected. However, the FB-22, a tactical bomber version of the F-22, was dismissed in 2006 because the US Air Force wanted a strategic bomber instead of a tactical one, US media outlet the National Interest reported.