After almost every Indian media house claimed that the newly acquired Rafale jets were far superior to China’s J-20 aircraft, Chinese experts have slammed Indian reports and stated that the French-origin jets “do not stand much of a chance against stealth aircraft, 4th generation (not fifth) like the J-20”.
A report by the Chinese state-run, Global Times (GT), quoted a Zhang Xuefeng, a Chinese military expert, saying that “the Rafale is superior to the Su-30 MKI fighter jets but it is only about one-fourth of a generation more advanced and does not yield a significant qualitative change.”
Out of the 36 Rafale jets, five of them landed in India on Wednesday morning which will resurrect the Number 17 Golden Arrows squadron of the Indian Air Force. The rest is supposed to be delivered by 2022. When all the 36 Rafale jets are delivered, it will take it to 32 squadrons, still well below the 42 squadrons of the sanctioned strength.
“Thanks to its AESA radar, advanced weapons and limited stealth technologies, the Rafale is comparable to other third-plus generation fighter jets used by other countries, but it will find it very difficult to confront a stealth-capable fourth-generation fighter jet,” stated Zhang.
As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, the arrival of the Rafale jets in India have also frightened its other neighbour as well. Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said that Islamabad has repeatedly urged the global community to deter India from continuing its disproportionate arms build-up, as it could lead to an arms race in South Asia.
She further alleged that arms build-up was being aided and abetted by the Western world through a policy of exemptions, waivers and supply of advanced equipment, technology and weapons for narrow commercial interests.
As reported by Hindustan Times, Former Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa had earlier described the 4.5 generation Rafale fighter jets as a “game-changer” for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Dhanoa was responsible for targeting the Pakistani intruders in Drass, Kargil and Batalik during Kargil war and also spearheaded the Balakot airstrikes along with National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. He responded to the Chinese claim with “two simple questions”.
“If the J-20, also called the Mighty Dragon, is indeed a fifth-generation stealth fighter, then why does it have canards while genuine 5th generation fighters such as the US’ F-22, F-35 and Russian fifth-generation Su-57 don’t,” Dhanoa asked. Canard is a small forward wing on combat aircraft that contributes to the lift, replacing the horizontal stabilizer and – theoretically – reducing overall drag.
The second question that the Ex-Air Marshal asked the Chinese is: “Why can’t the J-20 supercruise if it is really a 5th generation fighter as its manufacturer Chengdu Aerospace Corporation calls it.”
Supercruise is the ability of a fighter jet to fly at speeds above M 1.0 – the speed of sound – without the use of afterburners, the additional combustion component used on some jet engines to increase thrust. “The Rafale has the supercruise ability and its radar signature is comparable to the best of the fighters in the world,” Dhanoa said.