India’s Air Marshal, R Nambiar (Retd), who flight tested the Rafale fighter jets for India, has said that Rafale is superior to the China’s Jet Chengdu fighter, J-20. It is believed to be a 5th Generation fighter and is probably at the best a 3.5 generation aircraft. It has got a third generation engine as we have in the Sukhoi, Nambiar said.
The stealth characteristics of the J-20 are also under suspicion, say experts based on several analysis done by the Indian Air Force. The J-20 was hyped to be a highly stealthy aircraft and that it could conceal itself in operations and not be easily detected. The experts believe that if J-20 was the best, why China would go for the Russian Su35. But the Russian jets too, might not be able to compete with the Rafale. Nambiar said, “The Su35 is also no match to the Rafale with its weapons, superior sensors and fully integrated architecture. The capability to super cruise even with four missiles, stealth characteristics all put together makes the Rafale far more potent than Su35”.
Noticeably, the J-20 uses the same engine as Su30. But the Rafale engine is better in terms of reliability, longevity and maintainability. The IAF officials say that Rafale can lift load up to 1.5 times its weight, which means it can carry weapons and fuel much more capacity than the J-20.
The biggest difference is that Rafale is an omni-role aircraft. It can carry out at least four missions in one sortie while the J-20 cannot carry out multiple missions is one go. The Rafale is battle hardened and has been used in Afghanistan, Libya and Syria while the J-20 has not been part of any action. Also, the meteor missile in Rafale makes it far more potent than the J-20 or the Su30. The fighter jet is armed with potent meteor and scalp missiles that will enhance air strike capabilities and air dominance of the Indian Air Force. The meteor is a beyond visual range long air-to-air missile with a range of 150 km. Scalp is a long-range cruise missile with a range of 200 km that can be launched from the aircraft for deep strikes to hit fixed and stationary targets in land or water.