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In dogfight over Himalayas between India's Rafale vs China's J-20 stealth fighter, who wins?

Source : WION

In dogfight over Himalayas between India's Rafale vs China's J-20 stealth fighter, who wins?



Rafale in Hashmira, West Bengal, very much close to LAC

India's air chief Bhadauria said the induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more "opportune time, considering the security scenario".

He said the Golden Arrows squadron has already flown the aircraft and undergone intense integrated training with other combat fleets, including firing advanced weapons.

"So this formal induction today also marks the operational induction of this aircraft into the IAF. We are good to go and deliver," he added. If and when India decides to buy the Hornets, it will ensure a tactical shift for the Indian Air Force with the Rafale and Hornets ready for any combat role or related activities.

China's J-20 stealth fighter jets deployed 200 miles from Ladakh airbase

China had unveiled its new stealth fighter jet, the J-20, the country's first radar-evading combat aircraft, during one of the many test runs at the military airbase in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province in January 2011.

A test flight of China's new stealth fighter jet on January 11 overshadowed a US bid to shore up uneasy military relations, underscoring a growing rivalry between the two powers.

According to reports, China has deployed J-20 stealth fighter jets  200 miles from Ladakh airbase. Satellite images in mid-August showed two jets at Hotan amid the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Reports say the India Air Force has deployed Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, and MiG-29K fighters, and the turn of Rafale to be stationed close to the border cannot be discounted after all the Ambala airbase lies just 200 km from the China border.

China may have downgraded the superjet

The Chinese J-20 is touted to be the most advanced fighter jet in the Dragon's arsenal with advanced long-range strike capability with sophisticated artificial intelligence capability. Reports say China has at least 20 J-20 jets.

However, the key question is whether the J-20s which have largely been untested in battle conditions can operate in the high altitude regions in the upper Himalayas?

In fact, there were reports that China may have downgraded the super jet after a Global Times report said it was a "fourth-generation" fighter and not a "fifth-generation" jet.

Even though the Chinese Air Force likes to compare the J-20 to the US F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters but western experts feel the Chinese jets still have some way to go because China still hasn't tested it in "war-like" live situations.

J-20 aircraft 'Black Eagle'

NATO calls the J-20 aircraft "Black Eagle", reports say the front portion resembles the F-22 Raptor and the rear section Sukhoi T-50. A Russian company has denied reports that it has given stealth technology to Chengdu J-20 fighter aircraft.

China's fighter jet has PL-12C/D and PL-21 air to air missiles (AAM) including PL-10 short-range AAM.

China's fighter was 'inspired' by American theories on air combat

The J-20 can reportedly climb at the rate of 304m/s with a maximum speed of 2,100km/h. The single-seater fighter jet has been manufactured by China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG).

A major controversy had erupted after China's J-20 designer Yang Wei had said that China's fighter was "inspired" by American theories on air combat.

JF-17 jets for Pakistan

China has also "outsourced" the technology to its ally Pakistan with the country using the JF-17 jets. There were reports of Pakistan having got the first batch of J-17 jets from China.

The JF-17 jets were reportedly used by Pakistan Air Force in the aftermath of India's surgical strike at Balakot last year.

Meteor air-to-air missile

The Rafale aircraft are India's first major acquisition of fighter planes in 23 years after the Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia. The jets are capable of carrying a range of potent weapons. European missile maker MBDA's Meteor air-to-air missile and Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of their weapons package.

Meteor is a next generation beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionise air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats facing the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.

Air-to-air missiles during very low altitude penetration

With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the Rafale combat aircraft can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.

It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie. The jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability.

The mission system of the Rafale has the potential to integrate a variety of current and future armaments.

Beyond Visual Range interception

It has been cleared to operate weapons like the MICA air-to-air 'Beyond Visual Range' (BVR) interception, combat and self-defence missiles, the METEOR very long-range air-to-air missile, the HAMMER -- Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range -- modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series, laser-guided bombs with different warheads, and "specifics armaments" selected by some clients.

The Rafale is also fitted with 14 hardpoints, out of which five are capable of drop tanks and heavy ordnance.

The jet's total external load capacity is more than nine tonnes.

"Hence, Rafale can lift the equivalent of its own empty weight in payloads," according to Dassault. As per the manufacturers, the pilot interface is very easy to use and relies on a highly integrated suite of equipment which has capabilities for short-term, medium and long-term actions.

The design of the cockpit gives a wide field of view at the front, on both sides, and at the rear.


Rafale operations in Iraq to Syria and Afghanistan

Critically, the Rafale is "battle-ready", it has led operations in Afghanistan, Benghazi, Iraq and Syria encompassing different terrains.

The fact that it has operated in various regions gives it an edge over China's J-20 which is largely 'untested'.

In her address, defence minister Parly said France is fully committed to integrate the Indian defence industry with France's global military supply chain, and called Rafale's induction into the IAF a new chapter in bilateral defence ties.

She said India will have an "edge over the entire region" to defend its people with the induction of the fighter jets.

India's air chief Bhadauria said the induction of Rafale jets could not have happened at a more "opportune time, considering the security scenario".

He said the Golden Arrows squadron has already flown the aircraft and undergone intense integrated training with other combat fleets, including firing advanced weapons.

"So this formal induction today also marks the operational induction of this aircraft into the IAF. We are good to go and deliver," he added.

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