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Rafale vs Chengdu J-20: How Will Indian Rafale Jets Compete Against Chinese ‘Stealth’ J-20s?

As the India-China tensions mounts, how would Indian Rafale jets or SU-30 MKIs compete against Chinese Chengdu J-20 fighter jets? A EurAsian Times analysis

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Dassault Rafale vs Chengdu J-20 could be a likely possibility as the Indian Airforce could encounter the Chinese (PLAAF) Airforce near the Line of Actual Control.

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The Indian Air Force will soon be equipped with state-of-art Rafale Fighter Jets which will be stationed at Hasimara Air Base while China already has 5th generation Chengdu J-20 jets. EurAsian Times analyses how the Rafale Fighter Jets and SU-30MKI can compete against Chinese J-20 or J-10 Fighter jets.

As EurAsian Times reported earlier, the Indian Air Force officers in Hasimara have written to the defence ministry seeking clearance to relay the runway and build a hangar to accommodate both SU-30MKI and Dassault Rafale fighter jets.

The SU-30MKI is the most advanced fighter jets in the Indian armoury who will now be complemented by the highly controversial, but competent – Rafale fighter jets. So, what will happen, when Chengdu J-20, the fifth-generation fighter jet comes face to face with Rafale jets? EurAsian Times analyses the three fighter jets i.e. SU-30MKI, Dassault Rafale, and Chengdu J-20.

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Chengdu J-20: Specifications

Chengdu J-20: It is a single-seat, multirole stealth fighter for air-to-air, air-to-ground combat roles with supersonic cruise speed and integrated avionics which was test flown for the first time on January 11, 2011.

The jet, developed and manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG), is 20.3-20.5 metres long, has a height of 4.45 metres and its wingspan is 12.88-13.50 metres. The maximum take-off weight is 34,000-37,000 kg. The fighter’s range is about 1,200 kilometres which can be increased up to 2,700 kilometres with external fuel tanks.

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While the J-20 is currently powered by the Russian AL-31 engines, China is working in a new and more powerful WS-15 (Emei) afterburning turbofan engine for the fighter for sustained supersonic speed. The aircraft can fly at a maximum speed of 2,100 kilometres per hour (about 1.8 mach) and its climbing rate is 304 metres per second.

There are two lateral bays with four hardpoints each for air-to-air missiles while the fuselage has a larger bay under it for carrying missiles and other weapons. It also has an internal cannon. It is equipped with an AESA radar along with a chin-mounted infrared/electro-optic search and track sensor.

The Chinese also claim that the J-20 has a passive electro-optical detection system which gives the pilot 360° coverage. The fighter, which has a glass cockpit with a bubble-shaped canopy, can access real-time data from Chinese military satellites, Divine Eagle anti-stealth Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and other airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) systems. The J-20 cockpit has two liquid crystal displays (LCD) and a head-up display (HUD). The J-20 can be operated through the traditional hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) system.

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Sukhoi Su-30 MKI: Specifications

Sukhoi Su-30 MKI: The IAF’s twin-seater multirole fighter aircraft is the product of an Indo-Russia joint venture between Sukhoi Design Bureau and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The Su-30 MKI is 21.9 metres long, 6.4 metres high and has a wingspan of 14.7 metres. The maximum take-off weight is 38,800 kg.

Powered by two Al-31FP turbojet engines, the Su-30 MKI can reach a maximum speed of 2120 kilometres per hour (Mach 1.9) and climb at a rate of 300 meters per second. The fighter has a fly-by-wire flight control system and a range of 3,000 kilometres without refuelling. Its combat range increases to 8,000 kilometres with in-flight refuelling system. The Su-30 MKI has a cruising height of 11 to 13 kilometres and a climb rate of 300 metres per second.

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Its two pilots sit inside a tandem glass cockpit equipped with an integrated avionics suite incorporating Elbit Su 967 head-up display (HUD), seven active-matrix liquid crystal displays (AMLCD) and primary cockpit instrumentation. The aircraft also has multifunction displays (MFD) while t.he the rear cockpit has a monochromatic display screen for air-to-ground missile guidance

At present, the Su-30 MKIs have an N011M PESA radar which will soon be replaced with the more advance Zhuk AESA radar. The aircraft also has OLS-30 laser-optical locator system and Litening target designation pod to guide air-to-surface missile and laser-guided munitions.

The Su-30 MKI is one of the most heavily armed fighters in the world today. The IAF has modified 40 Su 30 MKIs to carry the supersonic BrahMos cruise missile. The fighter has a 30mm Gsh-30-1 cannon and 12 hardpoints capable of carrying missiles and bombs. The plane also has Tarang radar warning receiver and jammers for electronic warfare.

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Dassault Rafale: Specifications

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.

The Rafale is fitted with two Snecma M88 engines, each capable of providing up to 50 kN (11,250 lbf) of dry thrust and 75 kN (16,900 lbf) with afterburners. The M88 enables the Rafale to supercruise while carrying four missiles and one drop tank.

Although not really a stealth aircraft (as Chengdu J-20 claims), the Rafale was designed for a reduced radar cross-section (RCS) and infrared signature, which means it has some stealth features, which have neither been exaggerated neither been over-hyped.

The Rafale core avionics systems employ integrated modular avionics (IMA), called MDPU (modular data processing unit). The total value of the radar, electronic communications and self-protection equipment is about 30% of the cost of the entire aircraft, which is noteworthy.

The Rafale features an integrated defensive-aids system named SPECTRA, which protects the aircraft against airborne and ground threats. Various methods of detection, jamming, and decoying have been incorporated, and the system has been designed to be highly re-programmable for addressing new threats.

Dassault Rafale vs Chengdu J-20 vs SU30 MKI

China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) deployed its latest fighter Chengdu J-20 in February 2018 claiming it has stealth and is the most advanced fighter plane in all of Asia and comparable only with the American F-22.

However, according to various media reports, the Indian Air Force main fighter jet – the Sukhoi Su-30 MKI was able to detect the Chengdu J-20 flying over Tibet despite the latter using stealth technology. These claims can never be verified, but one thing is certain that Chengdu J-20 has question marks over its stealth technology and has no proven capabilities in a war.

The Chinese might have thoroughly evaluated the Indian SU-30 MKI jets, as they have jets based on similar Russian technology, but the French Rafales would be a complete surprise.

The Rafales, as stated earlier by EurAsian Times have invested around 30% of the cost of the entire aircraft on the radar and self-protection equipment which would make it extremely difficult to detect and shoot-down. That was one of the reasons why India preferred the French Rafales over the very advanced F-16s and Typhoons.

The French 4.5 Generation Fighter Jets, with proven war capabilities and tried and tested weaponry and radars has the potential to completely surprise the Chinese 5th generation fighter jets, which is still in the upgradation stage. It is highly unlikely that China will bring its J-20 face to face with the Rafale Fighter Jets anytime soon until they are self-assured of its capabilities.

The EurAsian Times is an English Language Digital News-Site, which specializes in reporting News and Editorials on South Asia, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and the Eurasian Region. EurAsian Times has a strong editorial presence in New Delhi, Dubai, Karachi, London, Toronto and have expertise in penning editorials on Defence, Politics, Health, Education and International Relations. A team of highly trained journalists, activists, freelancers and artists contribute to the EurAsian Times, apart from the coverage by its staff writers. The views of the writer may not necessarily reflect the view of EurAsian Times.

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Taliban rejects calls for cease-fire by the Afghan Government, International community

In line with a landmark US-Taliban peace agreement — which was only cautiously welcomed by the Afghan government — some 5,000 Taliban prisoners should have been released months ago from government prisons in return for the estimated 1,000 captive security forces.

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The Taliban on Sunday rejected mounting calls for a ceasefire by the Afghan government and the global community, saying they were yet to find “an alternative” to the ongoing insurgency.

The group’s spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahed, said on Twitter that the implementation of the Doha deal signed between the US and Taliban on Feb. 29 and the start of intra-Afghan negotiations would be necessary for the conflict to de-escalate and end. “If anyone seeks ceasefire before talks then such is illogical. War is raging precisely b/c we have yet to find an alternative,” he said.

Mujahed underlined that prisoner exchanges must be completed and intra-Afghan negotiations launched “immediately” for a resolution to the fighting.

Last week, Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani warned the peace process might face “serious challenges” if the Taliban continued with the war.

In a virtual conference with the representatives of some 20 regional countries and international organizations, Ghani underlined that though the Afghan government had the capacity and political will to end the war, it had offered the Taliban a political solution to move away from violence.

“The champions of peace will be people of Afghanistan and the region. Regional support for a democratic system in Afghanistan would further strengthen regional cooperation,” he said.

The rejuvenated yet fragile Afghan peace deal hinges on sluggish prison swaps testing the patience of the warring parties.

In line with a landmark US-Taliban peace agreement — which was only cautiously welcomed by the Afghan government — some 5,000 Taliban prisoners should have been released months ago from government prisons in return for the estimated 1,000 captive security forces.

The freeing of prisoners came to a halt less than halfway through in May amid bitter exchanges and allegations, as well as a spike in violence across the war-ravaged country.

According to official sources, there are 12,000-15,000 inmates in Afghan government prisons, including militants from Pakistan, Central Asia and Gulf countries. No figures are available on captives held by the insurgents.

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Four Pakistan Army soldiers killed in North Waziristan near Afghan Border

The clash occurred near Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan, during a raid on a hideout and resulted in the death of four troops, the statement by Pakistan’s army said.

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Four Pakistan Army soldiers and as many militants were killed in a clash in Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan region on Sunday, the military said.

The clash occurred near Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan, during a raid on a hideout and resulted in the death of four troops, the statement by Pakistan’s army said.

“As soon as the troops cordoned off the area, terrorist opened fire. All dug out terrorists were shot down by security forces, ” the statement said, adding: “In exchange of fire, four soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom).”

The killed soldiers included Sepoy Muhammad Ismail Khan, Sepoy Muhammad Shahbaz Yasin, Sepoy Raja Waheed Ahmed and Sepoy Muhammad Rizwan Khan.

North Waziristan – once dubbed the heartland of militancy – is one of seven former semi-autonomous tribal regions in Pakistan where the army has conducted a series of operations since 2014 to eliminate Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Successive operations have pushed the TTP towards neighbouring Afghanistan, and Islamabad claims the terrorist network has now set up bases across the border to attack Pakistani security forces.

The military operations also displaced over a million people, but the government claims most of them have returned to their homes. The tribal agencies were recently given the status of districts and merged with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

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Hundreds protest in the UK againt arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

The protest organized by the Stop the War Coalition took place days after the UK government’s decision to continue arming the Saudi-led coalition.

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Hundreds of people on Sunday (July 12) gathered in front of the Embassy of the UAE, in central London to call on the British government to end arms sales to the Saudi Kingdom and the UAE.

The protest organized by the Stop the War Coalition took place days after the UK government’s decision to continue arming the Saudi-led coalition.

A statement on Stop the War Coalition’s web site said: “Anti-war campaigners say Saudi-led intervention in Yemen will only compound existing tensions and violence in the crisis-ridden state.”

The anti-war group accuses the Saudi regime of playing a leading role in almost every “anti-democratic development in the Middle East.”

On July 7, Britain announced that it will resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia a year after the court of appeal declared the UK government acted unlawfully by selling arms to the kingdom without first assessing whether they were involved in breaches of international humanitarian law.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss said in a written statement to parliament that an official government review found that airstrikes in Yemen that breached international humanitarian law were only “isolated incidents.”

“The government will now begin the process of clearing the backlog of licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that has built up since 20 June last year,” she said.

Britain is one of Saudi Arabia’s top arms suppliers. Over the past five years, the UK’s top arms manufacturer, BAE Systems, sold Saudi Arabia £15 billion ($18.8 million) worth of arms.

The government review, sparked by the court of appeal’s decisions in June 2019, assessed examples of Saudi airstrikes using British equipment that could have breached international humanitarian law and killed civilians.

The arms and equipment sold to the Saudi Kingdom by the U.K. include air-to-air missiles, aircraft components, sniper rifles, anti-riot gear, ballistic shields and body armour.

Yemen has been beset by violence and chaos since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. The crisis escalated in 2015 when a Saudi-led military coalition launched a devastating air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi territorial gains.

Tens of thousands of Yemenis, including civilians, are believed to have been killed in the conflict, which has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis as millions remain at risk of starvation.

Karim El-Bar, Sibel Uygun

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