There have been many questions about China's Stealth J-20 jet or the Mighty Dragon if it is living up to its name. The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has long touted their 5th or maybe 4th generation as deadly in many ways but not substantiated in actual combat.
The J-20 has taken part in military drills for the first time and is highly praised despite existing shortcomings. Many of the arguments are stealth and other technical aspects that have been under question.
Comparison between the Rafale, Mighty Dragon
Besides the touted stealth, one of the most insignificant points is the dual engines below par in performance to the French Rafale. The J-20's engine is underpowered, without the thrust vectoring nozzle jets which it is supposed to have. Lacking a capable engine is a big problem for the Mighty Dragon, reported the Eurasian Times.
Chinese press crow about how good their modern stealth jet is, but the Indian Air Force (IAF) vets think otherwise. Despite all the claims, the Rafale has experienced a battle, and its AESA radar saw the so-called invisible J-20 on May 18. Debunking that it is a capable 5th gen plane up against the F-22, it will not be a pretty picture.
Assessment of China's Stealth J-20 jet that might use radar reflecting Luneburg Lens notes the Aviation Geek Club, on the back of the rear underside, which makes it bigger and covers its true radar cross-section in non-combat missions.
Although the F-35 lightning II will use its Luneburg Lens to hide its shape when in peaceable exercises.
The features of the Mighty Dragon
How visible a 5th gen stealth plane is will depend on where the radar paints it, if from the front, back, sides, top, or bottom, which matters a lot. Another expert has misgiving on the design of the supposed Chinese stealth fighter. It is only invisible from the front nose tip, but when on their sides, it is obvious. There is a lot about the PLAAF plane that is unsatisfactory, and the plane lacks what it should have.
Compared to the F-35, it is bigger, but it cannot carry many weapons. The US Navy FA-18 Super Hornet Block 3 is a 4th generation fighter but more capable with a larger payload. But the J-20 is for controlling the skies but cannot do carrier operations. Everything gets not good, but add no super-cruise function, which a 5th gen fighter does have but has none. Last is getting tested like the F-15 or F-16. These planes have gone through many wars.
In air shows, it just flies and nothing else but looks like eye candy. No fancy moves were ever seen in the 2016 and 2018 Zhuhai air shows. Doubt exists if can truly compete even with a recent variant F/A-18 Super Hornet or the F-22 Raptor, cited Airforce Technology.
The J-20 is equipped with an active electronically scanned array radar (AESA) and other systems touted as capable as the F-35, but there is no way to compare truly. It can be said China's Stealth J-20 jet is capable, yet the CCP guards its true abilities and shortcomings.
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