Comparing Chengdu J-20 with F-22, F-35 and Su-PAK FA or T-50

We have witnessed a lot about the Chinese Stealth fighter J-20, being developed by the Chinese Aircraft manufacturer Chengdu. The J-20 is a Fifth generation aircraft with stealth capabilities. Only time will tell if the J-20 will match the current stealth aircrafts or will be superior than them. The F-22 Raptor has proven technology and hence it has been speculated that most of the 5th generation aircrafts today are similar to the Raptor.

It is also speculated that this proven design of the F-22 has either been taken by spying,purchasing and then reverse engineered to create a new prototype by rival nations. That is the main reason why US is not exporting the F-22 because they fear that nations like China and Russia would use their designs especially after 1.7 terabytes of top secret information was stolen from them.

If we compare the look and design of J-20 you will find that it has a delta-wing-canard layout whereas the F-22 and F-35 have both diamond-wing-conventional layout. The frontal aspect of J-20 looks extremely similar to that of  American F-35 JSF with twin DSI intake and V-shaped tail. The J-20 has a canard-delta twin-engine configuration, diverted-less supersonic intakes, and a shaped nose consistent with the use of an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. To maintain stealth, the F-22 carries its weapons in internal bays.

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The J-20 seems to be fitted with WS-10 engines rather than WS-15 but this cannot be confirmed. The thrust generated by  J-20 is 180 kN which leads to better engine performance.

The F-22 Raptor has dual afterburning Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofans incorporate pitch axis thrust vectoring, with a range of ±20 degrees.  The maximum thrust is classified, though most sources place it at about 156 kN.

The F-35’s main engine is the Pratt & Whitney F135. The General Electric/Rolls-Royce F136 is being developed as an alternative engine. The PAK FA was expected to use a pair of Saturn 117S engines on its first flights producing 142 kN thrust in the afterburner. The PAK FA would be the first fifth generation fighter with full 3-D thrust vectoring along all three aircraft axes: pitch, yaw and roll.

The J-20 design is similar to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and the Sukhoi T-50 fighters. Sources indicate the twin-engine J-20 prototype could be using the Russian-built Saturn 117S (AL-41F1A) engine, the same being used in the T-50 and Su-35 prototypes.  China has expressed interest in procuring large quantities of the Saturn 117S from Russia and rumors at the recent Zhuhai Airshow in China indicate a J-20 prototype had been outfitted with the 117S.

The F-22 Raptor uses AN/APG-77 AESA radar, designed for air superiority and strike operations, features a low-observable, active-aperture, electronically-scanned array that can track multiple targets in any weather.

The main sensor on board of the F-35 is its AN/APG-81 AESA-radar, designed by Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems and is augmented by the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS) mounted under the nose of the aircraft, designed by Lockheed Martin.

For the T-50 PAK FA, radar with APAA is provided by NIIP. The J-20 is stated to use an advanced radar however the make of it is still not known.  Although J-20 appears as a better stealth aircraft than the rest, the Chinese pilots are not as experienced than the US pilots. The US has pilots that have been in combat situations for years. Moreover the AWACs, missile technology, radar tech, etc are all championed by the US and Russia. Its time to wait and watch how the J-20 performs in future as compared to the rest.

It is interesting to note that on our previous article Chengdu J-20 China’s first stealth fighter takes to the skies we got lot of traffic from US, Canada, UK, Australia, South Korea and Japan. We wonder if this news came as a shock to these countries. Also we got lot of response from China too, considering the tight lipped Chinese government this news must have been a pleasant surprise for the Chinese people. What do you think about the comparison of these fighters against J-20? Although it is too soon to tell, let us know what you think.

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