Sukhoi is developing a two-seat variant of the Su-57 Felon fighter jet to serve as the command aircraft for the S-70 Okhotnik drones, a TASS agency source said.
The information reinforces rumors about the 5th gen fighter’s two-seater variant that have been circulating for some time. TASS itself had already revealed through a source that the Su-57 will be able to control four drones at the same time.
The joint operation between Su-57 and Okhotnik had already been confirmed by UAC, the company that controls Sukhoi. Formation flights between the two fighter jets took place months ago to prove the concept.
The Okhotnik is an unmanned combat aircraft of very generous dimensions. With the shape of a flying wing, the drone has furtive design and a wingspan estimated at 20 meters (65 ft).
The UAV aircraft is believed to be equipped with a Saturn AL-31F or AL-41F afterburner engine and can carry up to 2,000 kg of weapons in two internal bays.
Okhotnik’s first flight took place in August 2019 and the aircraft is expected to enter service in 2024.
The Su-57/S-70 duo will be able to carry out air defense and ground attack missions together, according to the manufacturer.
The development of a two-seat variant of a 5th generation fighter is unheard of so far. While the United States has waived the need for two-seat planes, rumors point to a two-seater version of the J-20 fighter in China.