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Chinese J-20 fighters ‘mow’ its opponents with impunity. India without a chance?

WARSAW, (BM) – Chinese media reports widely on the excellent results achieved in simulated combat by the 5th generation Chengdu J-20 fighter, as we also reported earlier last week. The relatively inexperienced pilot was supposed to achieve a win-loss ratio of 17 to zero in subsequent fights.

Read more: China will use J-20 fighter in a war with India, S-400 doesn’t work at high altitudes

Information on this subject comes from the Chinese armed forces People’s Liberation Army Daily website, but it only reports there about the “new plane” that has achieved the above-mentioned advantage over the “older type” machines. However, the high win-to-loss ratio is reminiscent of the successes of the American F-22 and F-35 in simulated fights against 4th generation aircraft.

In the case of the F-35, it has often happened recently that young, newly minted pilots of these machines won in fights against experienced colleagues who sat at the controls of the F-16, F-15 or F / A-18. Chinese reports do not have to be pulled out of the finger and would indicate the achievement of a very high level of combat capabilities on the J-20, enabling it to fight equally with the latest American machines.

The fact that the winning machine reported by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was the J-20 is evidenced by the fact that it is the only such advanced combat aircraft in the Chinese arsenal. The second place is taken by Su-35, purchased in 24 copies, but the information clearly indicates the success of the domestic construction. It is doubtful that the Su-35 would achieve such a high advantage over other types of combat aircraft currently in the service of the PRC. Just like the latest variant of the “perky dragon” – J-10C.

The Chinese media describes the latter as the “most maneuvering” plane in the world. It is, of course, a staple in the nose of India, which is now receiving the agile French Rafale fighters – according to the Indians, better than the J-20. “They, like the J-10 and J-20, were built in a highly maneuverable duck configuration, i.e. with front control surfaces”.

All information can, of course, be skilfully crafted propaganda, aimed both at intimidating India and discouraging courageous action by the United States. Not without significance is the fact that the publication on the devastating results of the “new Thief” was illustrated with a photo of the Chinese S-30MKK aircraft.

Read more: Russia warned India that Rafale fighter will not help them against China

It is the equivalent of the Indian Su-30MKI, which is the basis (and pride) of the country’s combat aviation. This indirectly suggests that the J-20s can easily defeat dozens of Indian machines of this type and gain an advantage in the air. Interestingly, these machines were recently seen at the Hotan base near the Indian border.

If attempts were made to fight with J-20 against planes similar to Indian ones, then they could be played by machines derived from the Su-27 family (Chinese Su-27, Su-30, J-11 and J-16), and Rafale and MiG -29 could play J-10B and C.

Dogfight! Russia’s Su-57 Stealth Fighter vs. China’s J-20

As the Su-57 enters serial production in much larger quantities than previously expected, Moscow is making a concerted effort to pitch the fifth-generation fighter to major arms importers including Turkey, India, and China.

Over the past several years, Chinese defense media has been particularly keen on following the Su-57’s development; their–mostly positive commentary–has long been taken as one bellwether of Chinese import interest.

But the question is rarely asked in reverse: namely, what does Russia think of China’s own J-20 fighter?

Whereas Chinese defense commentary has been largely complimentary of the Su-57, their Russian counterparts have been much more tepid about the J-20. In a recent article on the “mutual benefit” of a China Su-57 import deal, prominent Russian defense outlet RG concluded that the Su-57 is neither better nor worse than the J-20 but fulfills an altogether different operational purpose.

The J-20 was designed as a stealth missile platform that can penetrate sophisticated air defenses in order to target critical infrastructure or military assets. The Su-57, on the other hand, excels as an air superiority platform that trades stealth and ground attack features for raw dog fighting potential. Thus, RG aptly characterizes the thrust of the Russian export argument: China’s air force should buy the Su-57 not as a replacement, but as a complement to the J-20.

Read more: Top 5 best fifth generation fighter jets in the World

Perhaps the most prevalent, if not contentious, aspect of Russian commentary on the J-20 is the recurring allegation that Chinese drew heavy inspiration from a Soviet fifth-generation fighter project that was tabled in 2000. Dmitry Drozdenko, deputy editor of the Russian military publication “Arsenal of the Fatherland,” told Sputnik that the J-20 “is based” on the ill-fated MiG 1.44: “In my opinion, the machine is based on the Russian MiG 1.44. That plane was created to compete with the PAK FA at the preliminary design stage, and made its maiden flight in 2000. The Chinese plane is very similar. Although it hasn’t been announced officially, the J-20 uses our AL-31F engine, developed by Salut, which the Chinese bought for half a billion dollars.” The article went on to cite a similarly-shaped canard configuration and tail section as examples of an allegedly uncanny resemblance between the two fighters.

TASS, Russia’s leading state news agency, echoed Sputnik in noting that a number of J-20’s currently run on the AL-31F engine and that the J-20 shares a distinctive “duck-like” aerodynamic design with the MiG-1.44, but stopped just short of claiming that the Chinese directly consulted the Russian fighter’s design in building the J-20.

Apropos of engine troubles, Russian defense commentators join their western counterparts in their skepticism about the status of the WS-15 engine that the J-20 was supposed to ship with. Performance and reliability issues with the WS-15’s single-crystal turbine blades has led the Chinese to produce initial J-20 batches with older, inferior WS-10B’s as a stopgap measure. There was a brief spurt of speculation in 2018 that Chinese engineers had managed to fix the WS-15, but nothing has been confirmed as of the time of writing.

Although Moscow may have no intention of importing China’s flagship stealth fighter, their perception of it is relevant to their ongoing effort to sell China on the Su-57. Specifically, Rosoboronexport– Russia’s arms export agency–will have to make a compelling case that the Su-57 has something that the Chinese need, and that the J-20 lacks. Likewise, their evaluation of the J-20 is strategically important within the context of the burgeoning Sino-Russian defense relationship in which neither side wants to be relegated to the role of junior partner.

Read more: Top 10 of the most widely used and active fighter jets in the world

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