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Rafale vs J-20: A reality check

by Isha Chauhan
0 comment 5 minutes read

Being the adobe of the one of the strongest aircrafts is a moment of pride for all. The first batch of the five Rafale reached home on July 29, 2020 after a long struggle. An auspicious moment for all indeed. We no longer need to worry about an aircraft war as now India behold the world’s strongest warcraft. China claims J-20 to counter the abilities of Rafale. The reality being nowhere even near to the technologically advanced aircraft. Let us find out the differences that makes Rafale the best warcraft to combat the enemies.

Rafale Multirole Combat Fighter, France


There is a long list of fighter jets under PLAAF, including Chengdu J-7, Chengdu J-10, Sukhoi SU-27, SU-353 and SU-35S. But comparing IAF’s most advanced aircraft to the list won’t be a justice to the very configurations Rafale possess. The only aircraft that could be somewhere near to the warcraft is Chengdu J-20. So let us begin the comparison.


Beginning the technical specifications, Rafale is a 4.5 generation category member with a French time engine. J-20 is a 5th generation fighter craft having a twin jet. Range of Dassault Rafale is 3700 km, which is still anonymous for J-2. The maximum speed of J-2 is 2223 km/h during a test run. While in case of Rafale, it can reach up to 2130 km/h.

Now, let us dig into the technical specifications of the both. Chendu J-20 has a length of about 20.4m, creating a gap of 4.96m between their lengths. Weight of Dassault Rafale is 10.3 t whereas that of J-20 is 19.4t. Height of Rafale being 5.34 m as compared to that of J-20 {4.45m} adds onto its warfare withstanding capacity.


The basic use of radar is detection of the target, which may include an aircraft or any other simulating object. The radar used in Rafale is AESA, which is till date the most advanced radar mechanism used. Till date there hasn’t been any information provided regarding radar used in J-20. Though, believed to have same AESA for target detection.

The next aspect of avionics that leads to the higher market value of the warcraft is the use of SPECTRA which not only enables protection against airborne threats but also ensures zero ground threat. The use of SPECTRA nullifies the chances to detect and shoot down a Rafale. On the other hand, China claims to have a 360 degree pilot coverage accessing real-time data monitoring. But the very fact can’t be testified until radar is used in a war field.


Rafael is the adobe to the most powerful weapon systems such as SCALP and meteor thus increasing the warfare strength of the same. Rafale has an attack precision and meteor aiding to the visual range. Both Rafale and J-20 are found to be multi-role fighters, with an anti-ship strike mission.

J-20 claims to have PL-15 missile having function similar to that of meteor but due to admissible evidences the claim is not yet confirmed. The next plus point of meteor is its ability to target even smaller missiles including cruise missiles and UAVs.

Dassault Rafale vs Chengdu J-10 – Comparison – BVR – Dogfight


Being a fifth gen aircraft basically means possessing the capacity of stealth, which in the most easiest manner can be explained as the hiding capacity from the radar. Though it won’t make the aircraft invisible but it enables reduction in cross section of aircraft on the enemy’s radar. J-20 being modelled as F-22 raptor which is not stealth, falsifies the claim of it being stealth in technology. It proves to be a plus point for the enemy country in the warfare.


All the specificities on record about J-20 are just paper written and not practically experimented on the warfare. On the other hand, Rafale has faced combats with Afghanistan, Libya, Central African republic, Iraq and Syria having a tremendous record in all. 

If in future chances of a combat between J-20 and Rafale arise, chances are likely that the winning in the war front would depend solely on the expertise of the pilot and not on the technical parameters involved.

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