Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), is developing a two-seater J-20 variant which will be the first stealth fighter in the world to accommodate two pilots.
China is developing a new generation two-seater stealth warplane, based on its most advanced fighter the J-20, intended as an early-warning aircraft that will serve as a command centre for other weapons such as fighter jets and rocket launchers.
The report, which appeared on War Industry Black Technology, a social media platform run by Shenzhen-based Quantum Defence Cloud Technology, included a design sketch of the twin-seater variant and said it would serve as a small, early-warning warplane.
“As the new generation aircraft with capabilities of stealth and supersonic cruise, the new platform also needs to command drones, other fighter jets, and even ground-based rocket launchers, as well as surface warships and submarines, making it a small early-warning aircraft,” it said.
A military insider said the new plane would be equipped with defensive air-to-air weapons, but would not be used as a bomber, contrary to mainland media reports.
“It is not a real bomber. To maintain stealth and agility, all missiles should be put inside the bays, that means only light air-to-air bombs are allowed,” said the insider, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.
The heavy explosives required for air-to-ground and air-to-sea missiles could only be accommodated under the craft’s wings, drastically reducing its stealth capabilities.
“All bombers carrying heavy bombs would be easily detected by the integrated air defence system (IADS),” the insider said. “That means two-seater stealth fighters could not cause any threat to American military bases or even aircraft carrier strike groups.”