Russia is reportedly developing a two-seat variant of its Su-57 fighter for better control over a swarm of heavy Okhotnik drones.
"In order to control advanced Okhotnik drones, a two-seat command variant of Su-57 will be created. The fighter jet, already in development, is presumed to control about four Okhtonik drones," a defense industry source was quoted as saying by government-owned TASS Tuesday.
There is no official announcement of development of such a jet.
Few days ago, Russian media reported that Yuri Slyusar, head of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), revealed plans of designing different variants of the Su-57. “Development of several versions of Su-57 is expected to start this year,” he said, adding that creating such a jet would take into account the needs of the customer.
Slyusar did not specify the number and type of individual versions.
On June 16, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, who oversees the defense industry complex, announced that it was planned to develop a two-seater version of the Su-57 fighter in the export version. "The plans of the Ministry of Defense and the Sukhoi Design Bureau are to manufacture a two-pilot cockpit, which will expand the export demand for this model, it can create additional demand," Borisov said at the time.
If developed, the Su-57 will become the world’s first two-seat fifth-generation fighter.
"This plane can be in demand in flight personnel’s training to lower the psychological stress of inexperienced pilots, and also to perform lengthy flights over featureless terrain,” Rostec press office said in a statement earlier this month. "Let us note that no country in the world has two-seat fifth-generation fighters. The Sukhoi may become the first one."