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China Thinks Its Stealth Fighters Can Beat the F-35

Michael Peck

Key Point: American stealth fighters might be compromised.

It’s not surprising that China claims that its J-20 stealth fighter is superior to the U.S. F-22 and F-35

All nations like to claim their weapons are better than those of their adversaries (and if they don’t, it’s because they want more money for the defense budget).

But a Chinese defense magazine has gone a step further by describing how Chinese experts view the J-20 as superior to American jets in many – but not all – categories.

“While a gap remains in some respects between the J-20 and the F-22 and F-35, each has their pros and cons,” says an article in Shipboard Weapons magazine. “For example, the J-20, due to the limitations of engine performance, maybe inferior to F-22 in terms of supersonic cruise capability and super maneuverability, but its significantly larger body size gives it greater fuel capacity and endurance.”

The article also rates the J-20, which entered service earlier this year, as having a larger combat radius than the F-22 and thus less dependent on aerial refueling, according to a translation by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office. And because the J-20 is a newer platform than the F-22, which first took flight in 1997, its electronics, situational awareness and data networking and better, and closer to the capabilities of the newer F-35.

The article also sees the J-20 as broadly comparable to the F-35, and better in some areas such as having a supercruise capability. “Compared with the F-35, whose internal weapons stores are small and which does not have supersonic cruise capability and super maneuverability, the J-20 has an internal weapons bay and a greater mobility advantage,” Shipboard Weapons says. “So not only are there no generational differences with the F-22 and F-35, but the J-20 also has certain advantages. They have the ability to go out in the offshore airspace during the war and perform the tasks of competing with foreign fourth-generation aircraft such as F-22, F-35, etc. to compete for air superiority and to attack enemy air, sea and land targets.”

While the West classifies aircraft such as the F-22, F-35 and J-20 as fifth generation, China categorizes them as fourth generation.

Read the original article.