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Chinese J-20 emerging as top Fifth Generation Fighter in world: Here's why

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New Delhi, Jan 19: China's upgraded J-20 fighter is creating a flutter in the defence circle with Beijing based papers claiming that PLA's J-20 is superior to US' F-35. The J-20 is China's fifth-generation stealth aircraft that was first unveiled in 2011. It is generally seen as a direct competitor to the United States' F-35 stealth fighter.

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Almost all the leading countries in the world are working on developing fifth-generation jet fighters which require high-end research and technological capabilities. There is no precise definition as such about the characteristics that a fifth-generation fighter should have, but it is agreed by and large that it must include stealth technology, supersonic cruising speed, and highly integrated avionics as part of the criteria.

China's new J-20 is one of the world's most advanced fighter jets and the country's answer to the American F-22 Raptor. The Chinese warplane was developed by the Chengdu Aerospace corporation, which began testing them in 2011 before the first planes entered service in March 2017. J-20 is considered by many as a full fifth-generation fighter.

China's fifth generation fighter jet J-20, which has been in service under the People's Liberation Army Air Force since early 2018, is endowed with state-of-the-art aviation and electronic technologies. Its range and weapons payload are widely considered to be better than the F-35's, enabling it to achieve its main mission of gaining aerial superiority in a 21st Century battlefield, reported an English-language Chinese newspaper.

Equipped with an advanced weapon system and capable of stealth and supersonic cruising, the F-35 is regarded as one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world. But China is no sitting duck in a potential clash with the US fighter jet, the report further said.

The Chengdu J-20 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.

[China's 5th generation fighter J-20 Chengdu: Where does it stand compared to Rafale?]

The Global Times also said the PLA's passive radars and meter wave radars could detect F-35s before they could pierce China's airspace, and could in turn guide the PLA's anti-aircraft missiles such as the HQ-9 and HQ-16 to fend off the F-35s.

Both aircraft possess highly integrated avionics and sensor equipment, featuring a low-observable, active electronically scanned array (AESA) that can track multiple targets in any weather.

The US experts, however, do not fully agree that J-20 is superior to F-35, but US military sees China's air force, and especially the J-20, as a substantial threat.

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