Indian Air Force

Rafale vs J-20: Who is Best?

India Received the first batch of five rafales from France on the 29th of July, in the midst of ongoing tussle with china. As soon as these jets landed in India the war of words erupt between both sides Over which fighter is better, Chinese reports claim that J-20 is much better than Rafale and it had no chance against Chinese J20. Recently Chinese media outlet Global Times said that Rafale was only superior to the IAF’s Su-30MKI jets but a generation below Chinese PLA’s J–20 fighter. In this article, we will try to find out the capabilities of both aircraft against each other.


Rafale Vs J-20
Rafale Fighter of IAF
  • RafaleJet is 4.5 generation aircraft built by the French company Dassault Aviation. Rafale is a twin-engine, delta wing, Multirole aircraft designed for performing various missions like In-depth strike, reconnaissance missions, anti-ship missions, Nuclear deterrence, etc. India signed a deal for the purchase of 36 Rafales with France in 2016. Rafalefeatures most advanced Avionics, Defensive suite, weaponry package.
  • Rafale is powered by Two SNECMA engines which produce 75KN dry thrust each with afterburner. Maximum Takeoff weight is 24000 kg, it can carry 1.5 times more load than its own weight. the maximum speed of this aircraft is 1.8 Mach but it can supercruise at Mach 1.4 without using afterburners. the combat radius of this aircraft is 1850km and the service ceiling is around 51000ft. The thrust to weight ratio of this aircraft is 0.98 and the rate of climb is 304.8m/s.
  • Rafale features an integrated defensive system named SPECTRA which protects the aircraft against airborne and ground threats. The fighter is equipped with RBE2AA AESA Radar with a detection range of 200km. The most important thing is that Rafale is designed for Low RCS, Which makes it capable of avoiding detection by Some air defense systems.
  • It carries a variety of weapons for A2A, A2S. The most lethal weapon is the Meteor BVR A2A missile with a range of more than 100 km and no escape zone of 60km. Meteor is a next-generation missile and can outgun most of PLAAF and PAF Aircraft.

Also Read, Complete Details On India’s Rafale Deal


Rafale Vs J-20
  • The fighter is also known as a mighty dragon is a single-seat twin-engine all-weather stealth fifth-generation aircraft developed by Chinese based Chengdu Aerospace corporation for people,s liberation Army Air force.
  • Fighter features a blended fuselage with low RCS, canard delta configuration, Modern fly by wire system, AESA radar with 1800 Transmitter Reciever modules.J-20 is designed for Air superiority with precision strike capability.
  • It is powered by two WS-10B Afterburning turbofan engine produces 145 kN of thrust with afterburner, but in the future, it will be equipped with Twin WS-10G thrust vectoring Engines each generating with 30000lb of thrust. The maximum speed of this Aircraft is Mach 2 WITH COMBAT RANGE OF 2000KM. The Service ceiling is 66000 ft. Climb rate of J-20 is 304m/s.
  • The armament of this fighter includes long rangePL-12C/D and PL-21 air – to -air missile for the short-range, jet is equipped with PL-10 short-range A2AM.


  • J-20 is a fifth-generation stealth fighter as claimed by china but its stealth features were under suspicion. The first question arises why J-20 has canards while genuine 5th generation fighters such as F22 and F-35 and Russian Su-57 don’t have canards. Canards are located forward of the main wing and they present large angular surfaces that tend to reflect radar signals. Ex- IAF Dhanoa pointed out that, “why can’t the J-20 supercruise if it is really a fifth-generation fighter as its manufacturer Chengdu Aerospace Corporation calls it.” “The Rafale has a supercruise ability and its radar signature is comparable to the best of the fighters in the world.”Some Reports also mentioned that Su 30MKI of IAF has detected J-20 flowing over Tibet.
  • Rafale is a battle-tested, battle-hardened, and war proved as it is used in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. Rafale once downed American F-22 Raptor in mock combat in 2009.
  • As per Air Marshal(retd.), “Rafale is far superior to the J-20, the Chengdu fighter of china. Even though it is believed to be a fifth-generation fighter. it is probably at best a 3.5 generation aircraft. it got a third-generation engine as we have in Sukhoi.”

Also Read, How IAF Is Going To Increase Its Depleting Fighter Squadron Strength?

Shubam Sharma

I am Shubam Sharma and I am a blogger at Defence XP Network. I write about Indian Airforce and Defence-related weapons, technology and projects.


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