Russia to develop two-seat Su-57 fighter variant

Aircraft could be the first stealth fighter to offer the configuration, Rostec said

The Su-57 stealth fighter will have a two-seat version, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov confirmed to TASS on Wednesday.

According to the former Defense Minister of the Putin government, Sukhoi develops the 5th generation fighter variant as an export configuration.

“The Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Design Bureau have plans to develop a two-pilot aircraft that will boost the export demand for this model… and it may create additional demand,” Borisov said during his working trip to the Primorye Region in the Russian Far East.

In order to obtain more financial resources for the program, UAC started to offer the Su-57 in the international market, which is not common in an aircraft that has just entered service with the Russian Air Force.

Rostec, the state-owned technology company that houses the UAC, explained that the two-seat version could be used for “lower the psychological stress of inexperienced pilots.” The company also noted that the Su-57 could be the first 5th-generation two-seater fighter.

Twin-seat J-20 fighter CGI image (AVIC)

The development of two-seat and training variants has been dwindling in advanced fighter designs. Lockheed Martin, for example, did not build the F-22 and F-35 with this possibility.

Instead, simulators are used to train pilots while the extensive automation of the systems makes it unnecessary to have a second crew member.

China, however, may join the Russians in producing a two-seat version of the J-20 stealth fighter. In January, a video released by AVIC showed a CGI image of several twin-seat “Mighty Dragons”. To date, the PLAAF has not confirmed whether the aircraft will in fact be mass produced.

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