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China unveils first two-seat variants of J-20 stealth fighter aircraft


According to information released by the Chinese MoD (Ministry Of Defense) website, China has developed the first two seats stealth fighter aircraft based on the J-20, stealth, twin-engine, and fifth-generation fighter aircraft developed by China in Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. In January 2019, China has announced the development of the two-seat variant of the J-20.

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China unveils first two seat variants of J 20 stealth fighter aircraft 925 001 Concept of the two-seat variant of the J-20 stealth fighter jet. (Picture source CCTV)


The Chengdu J-20 also nicknamed as Mighty Dragon, NATO reporting name is Black Eagle is a single-seat, twinjet, all-weather, stealth, and fifth-generation fighter aircraft developed by China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF).

The J-20 is designed as an air superiority fighter with precision strike capability; it descends from the J-XX program of the 1990s. It made its maiden flight on 11 January 2011 and was officially revealed at the 2016 China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition.

The J-20 was introduced into service with the Chinese Air Force in March 2017 and began its combat training phase in September 2017. The frst J-20 combat unit was formed in February 2018.

The J-20 stealth fighter aircraft has a maximum speed of 2100 km/h and the development for a super cruising without afterburners is still under development. It has a length of 20 m with a wingspan of 13 m and a height of 4.45 m. It has an empty weight of 19,391 kg and a loaded weight of 32,092 kg. The maximum takeoff weight is 36,288 kg. The aircraft is powered by two Shenyang WS-10G afterburning turbofan engines. It can produce 76.18 KN dry thrust and 122.3 or 179.9 KN with afterburner.

The main weapon bay is capable of housing both short and long-range air-to-air missiles (AAM; PL-9, PL-12C/D & PL-15 – PL-21) while the two smaller lateral weapon bays behind the air inlets are intended for short-range AAMs (PL-10). These side bays allow closure of the bay doors prior to firing the missile, thus allowing the missile to be fired in the shortest time possible as well as enhancing stealth. The J-20 is reported to lack an internal automatic cannon or rotary cannon, suggesting the aircraft is not intended to be used in short-range dogfight engagements with other aircraft but engage them with from long standoff ranges with missiles such as the PL-15 and PL-21.

While the fighter typically carries weapons internally, the wings include four hardpoints to extend the ferrying range by carrying auxiliary fuel tanks. However, much like the F-22, the J-20 is unlikely to carry fuel tanks on combat missions due to its vulnerability in such a configuration, thus this configuration remains valuable for peacetime operations, such as transiting between airbases.[53] The fighter is able to carry four medium/long-range AAMs in the main bay and short-range missile one in each lateral weapon bay of the aircraft. A staggered arrangement with six PL-15s is possible depending on the rail launcher for missile mounted in the future.