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China boosted it's J-20 Superior to the US F-35 and F-22. RSAF considering buying J-20?




By Kris Osborn - Warrior Maven

Earlier this year, a Chinese paper claimed that its 5th-generation stealthy J-20 aircraft is superior to the US F-35, based on comments from an Air Force general following an incident in which US-35s had “close contact” with the Chinese fighter over the East China Sea.

J-20 vs. F-35​

The Chinese government-backed Global Times newspaper describes an incident wherein the J-20 and F-35 flew in close proximity to one another as part of routine People’s Liberation Army exercises in the region.

The paper quotes comments from Air Force Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, Commander of US Pacific Air Forces, saying the US pilots were “impressed” with the J-20. The US general’s quote reportedly came from an online event broadcast on youtube, the paper says.

“We got relatively close to the J-20s along with our F-35s in the East China Sea, and we’re relatively impressed with the command and control that was associated with the J-20,” Wilsbach reportedly said, according to the Chinese paper.

Wilsbach also reportedly said the Chinese pilots were “flying the J-20s pretty well,” according to the paper.

However, when placed in a more complete context, Wilsbach’s comments are by no means unusual, as senior Air Force and Pentagon leaders often point out the technological abilities of Chinese weapons systems as part of a vital need to ensure continued US modernization.


Lockheed Martin
However, this by no means indicates that the Chinese 5th-generation aircraft actually outperforms or even rivals an F-35. Apart from the J-20s visible external configuration, and many Chinese press reports about its improved domestically-built engine and fast-improving performance, there may be little known information about the PLA aircraft’s mission systems, computing, sensors or weapons interfaces.

Clearly its stealth exterior would suggest it may be an F-35 and F-22 “copycat” in terms of its blended wing-body and rounded fuselage. However, apart from its apparent stealth properties, any true margin of difference between the two aircraft would likely reside in less visible technological variables such as sensor range and fidelity, on board data processing and weapons targeting precision, among other things.

Two J-20 fighters breaking formation

Two J-20 fighters breaking formation
Should Wilsbach’s comment about the J-20s command and control be accurate, that does introduce an interesting and rare window of observation into perhaps previously unknown elements of the J-20. If in fact the Chinese aircraft appeared to maneuver with an effective command and control system, that would indicate that perhaps at least some of the J-20s mission systems and computing are effective.

At the same time, it seems important to point out that regardless of potentially being “impressed” with the J-20 and its flying, Wilsbach offered no input or comment regarding the question as to whether he thinks the Chinese 5th-generation aircraft in anyway resembles the F-35.

Nonetheless, China claims its fifth-generation, stealthy J-20 fighter jet is now taking yet another massive step toward war preparedness by flying in what could be referred to as “full stealth” mode.

A report from the Chinese-government backed Global Times says the J-20 was “spotted” flying without a Luneburg lens, a small device used to intentionally expose a stealth aircraft to others in situations like training or non-combat flights.

Does this mean the aircraft has taken new steps toward combat and operational “readiness?” Furthermore, just how stealthy is it?

J-20 & F-22: Wingspan, Speed & Weapons​

The Chinese J-20 certainly appears slightly larger than an F-22 or F-35 stealth jet fighter, given its dual wing configuration, an engineering method employed to optimize air flow and achieve improved aerodynamic performance. While the wing configurations of a J-20 and F-22 are decidedly different, the J-20 fuselage itself appears to resemble that of an F-22 with two engine exhaust and blended, curved or rounded main body exterior.

What would it mean to truly rival or surpass the F-22 stealth fighter? Now that the J-20 has been flow in full stealth capacity and modified slightly with the integration of a new engine, some might wonder if the Chinese aircraft could achieve any kind of “supercruise” capability that has—so far—been unique to the F-22.

The F-22 has a forty-four-foot wingspan and is, at certain high altitudes, able to hit speeds as fast as Mach 2.25. Various data spec sheets and articles cite that, by comparison, a J-20 is several meters longer but built with a similar 44-ft wingspan. The articles, in Air Force Technology and The National Interest say the J-20 can reach speeds of Mach 2.55. It is unsure if this is confirmed per se and speed metrics don’t necessarily translate into maneuverability or sustained speed.

Regardless of a J-20’s speed, a key F-22 advantage is that it not only can reach supercruise speeds but also sustain them as well without needing afterburners, a major technical enhancement. Also, a slightly shorter, sleeker, and more streamlined fuselage, coupled with potentially unmatched levels of propulsion, thrust, and high-speed maneuverability, could very well give the F-22 a decisive advantage.

The F-22 is also armed with massively upgraded weapons such as the now software-enhanced AIM-120D and AIM-9X air-to-air and air-to-ground or surface weapons. Ultimately, the F-22’s advantage may reside in its often discussed role as an “aerial quarterback,” described by innovators as an ability to exchange real-time, two-way information amid warfare with both fourth- and fifth-generation American and allied warplanes

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force plans to continually modify the engine of their J-20 5th Gen stealth fighter to the point wherein it can match, rival, or potentially out-perform the U.S. F-22.

J-20 & F-22 Engines​

Many U.S. engineers and military leaders maintain that the speed, maneuverability, technological sophistication and performance specs of the F-22 are simply unparalleled, yet many of course are acutely familiar with China’s fast-growing technological sophistication.

A report months ago in the South China Morning Post quotes an unspecified “military insider” (seems to indicate a Chinese military insider) explaining that the Chinese military will no longer use the Russian AL-31F engine in its J-20 but rather replace it with the WS-10C, a modified version of its domestically-built WS-10 engine.

“It’s impossible for China to rely on the Russian engine, because Russia asked China to purchase more Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for the AL-31F engine deals,” the insider, who requested anonymity, said in the paper. “The key problem is – except for its longer combat range advantage – the radar, navigation system and other electronic components on the Su-35s are inferior to Chinese aircraft like the J-16 strike fighter.”

Interestingly, the modifications to the Chinese WS--10 do not, according to the insider, go far enough.

“The air force (presumably Chinese) is not happy with the final results, demanding that engine technicians modify it until it meets all standards, for example matching the F119 engine used by the Americans’ F-22 Raptor,” the South China Sea Morning Post writes.

What would it mean to truly rival or surpass the F-22? Does this indicate that the emerging, or soon to emerge, modified Chinese engine would achieve an F-22-like “supercruise” ability to sustain Mach speeds for long periods of time without afterburners? Does it mean it can vector and maneuver in a manner somewhat analogous to an F-22?

J-20 & F-35 Fuselage​

Well that may not be fully known, yet it seems there are a few things that can be observed; the J-20 fuselage, with its double-wing configuration, may be somewhat stealthy, yet it does appear larger and somewhat less maneuverable than a more streamlined F-22 fuselage.

The F-22 has a 44-ft wingspan and is, at certain high altitudes, able to hit speeds as fast as Mach 2.25. Various media reports cite that, by comparison, a J-20 is several meters longer but built with a similar 44-ft wingspan; the reports, from Air Force Technology and The National Interest say the J-20 can reach speeds of Mach 2.55.

syed putra

Fighter jets are more electronic gadgets and less dog fights. The further out you can detect your enemy, the better the chance of shooting it down using long range missiles.
Of course, enemy will have its vast counter measures.
I think current range of detection is about 350km. For NATO fighters.and only half that for russian jets.


Who will still believe the J20 is bester than F22 9or F35 ?
Can they even beat F-18 super hornet?

Taking a look at their diesel powered aircraft carrier, I doubt that J20 is good.


The J-20 manuals n instructions are all written in mandarin, some of the Sinkie pilots will have problems understanding them...


Alfrescian (Inf)
Until they are tested in actual combat, like what the ruskies are doing in Ukraine, its just like umbrage times saying PAP is the bestest and LHL and HC are the most appropriately paid in the world


The J-20 manuals n instructions are all written in mandarin, some of the Sinkie pilots will have problems understanding them...

Iran and saudi bought and will bought more weapons from china. They have no problem with manuals.


made in china

known for low quality
cheap copycat knock off products. subpar

a cheap tiong fan breaks apart after a month or two, a thai product thai branded made in thailand product lasts over 5 years. the additional price is well worth it. quality trumps rubbish low quality garbage made in china quantity