Chinese media revealed computer-generated images of a two-seat Chengdu J-20 fighter jet in flight accompanied by three GJ-11 stealth drones.
The project resembles the US Air Force (USAF) Loyal Wingman program, which aims to multiply air power by uniting conventional aircraft with semi-autonomous drones.
The hypothesis has been commented on since the beginning of the year, especially after the emergence of a prototype of the 5th gen J-20 fighter with two seats, unprecedented for this type of aircraft.
According to rumors, the new version could be used for reconnaissance, surveillance and attack missions, with the second occupant of the J-20 controlling the drones.
In the US, the Loyal Wingman program has been tested with F-35 fighter jets and Valkyrie drones, but there is still no expected entry into service.
The concept of manned aircraft accompanied by drones, in addition to making it possible to carry out more complex missions, also reduces the risk of casualties and even operational costs.
The two-seat J-20 fighter jet, also known as the J-20S, was first seen in October 2021 taxiing at manufacturer Chengdu’s facilities. Since then, there have been no records of it having flown.