Do Su-57 and J-20 Stand a Chance in Stealth Against F-22 and F-35?

This report critically examines the stealth claims of the Su-57 and J-20 fighters, contrasting them with established technical parameters. Do Su-57 and J-20 Stand a Chance in Stealth Against F-22 and F-35?

Technical analysis of the Chengdu J-20 and its controversial origins

Do Su-57 and J-20 Stand a Chance in Stealth Against F-22 and F-35?
J-20

The development of the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon originated in the J-XX program in the late 90s. This fighter, intended to be an exponent of the fifth generation, shows influences from previous designs such as the J-10.

Cyber espionage accusations have tainted its design’s originality, claiming that the J-20 is an amalgamation of features stolen from fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. This mix of features does not necessarily translate into genuine fifth-generation capability, raising questions about its true effectiveness in terms of stealth technology.

In addition to structural similarities, the J-20 ‘s development time increased significantly following the introduction of the F-22, suggesting a reliance on Western innovations. Although the design and capabilities of the J-20  appear impressive, questions about its authenticity and efficiency in real combat scenarios remain a topic of debate among military analysts.

Beijing’s approach to stealth appears to be more of an attempt to match Western capabilities rather than true innovation. The J-20, therefore, can be seen as an effort to integrate and improve existing technologies rather than an innovative creation from scratch, calling into question its positioning as a true fifth-generation fighter.

Assessment of the capabilities and claims of the Russian Sukhoi Su-57

Do Su-57 and J-20 Stand a Chance in Stealth Against F-22 and F-35?
Su-57

On the other hand, Russia has proudly displayed the capabilities of its Sukhoi Su-57 fighter, also known as  Felon by NATO. Mikhail Strelets of the Sukhoi Design Bureau has stated that the  Su-57 incorporates and exceeds the functions of the American F-22 and F-35 fighters. According to Strelets, the Su-57 is more versatile and capable of performing missions against air and ground targets more effectively than its American counterparts.

Do Su-57 and J-20 Stand a Chance in Stealth Against F-22 and F-35?
F-22

Alexei Leonkov, a Russian military expert, supports this view, highlighting the superiority of the  Su-57  in terms of arsenal and technological capabilities, including an advanced radar system and electronic warfare. However, these claims should be examined with caution.

Despite the technological advances that the Su-57 may present, the true measure of its stealthiness and operational effectiveness can only be evaluated through rigorous testing and objective comparisons with other fifth-generation fighters.

Commentary and analysis from military experts, especially outside Russia, often show skepticism about the true capabilities of the Su-57, particularly in comparison to the technological advances of Western fifth-generation fighters. Although it is undeniable that the Su-57 represents a step forward in Russian military aviation, its classification as a true fifth-generation fighter remains a topic of debate.

Critical comparison of the stealth capabilities of the J-20 and Su-57

In the technical comparison between the J-20 and Su-57, both aircraft show characteristics that suggest a reduction in RCS (Radar Cross Section), but not necessarily on par with the  F-22 Raptor or the F-35 Lightning II.

Adam Daymude, a former US naval aviator, notes that although both fighters exhibit stealth design features, such as blended fuselages and canted vertical stabilizers, there are aspects, such as the J-20 ‘s ailerons, that could compromise their stealth capability.

Do Su-57 and J-20 Stand a Chance in Stealth Against F-22 and F-35?
f-35

Due to lingering doubts about their true stealth capabilities, Daymude places these fighters in a “4.5 or perhaps 5” category. This suggests that while both aircraft are significant advances for China and Russia, respectively, they may not reach the level of stealth and operational capability that define fifth-generation fighters by Western standards.

In conclusion, both the J-20 and Su-57 represent significant efforts by their respective countries to advance air combat technology. However, their classification as true fifth-generation stealth fighters remains under scrutiny due to a lack of concrete and transparent evidence to fully support their claims of advanced stealth capability.

FAQs

What are the main criticisms of the Chengdu J-20’s stealthiness?
The Chengdu J-20 has been criticized for its authenticity in stealth technology. Accusations of cyber espionage and the integration of features from Western designs, such as the F-22 and F-35, raise questions about their originality and effectiveness in real combat. Despite its impressive design, the lack of genuine innovation and reliance on Western technologies calls into question its classification as a true fifth-generation fighter.

In what aspects would the Sukhoi Su-57 surpass the F-22 and F-35?
According to Sukhoi’s Mikhail Strelets, the Su-57 surpasses the American F-22 and F-35 fighters in versatility and effectiveness in missions against air and ground targets. With an advanced arsenal and enhanced radar and electronic warfare capabilities, the Su-57 stands out in its operational versatility. However, these claims need objective verification to confirm their technological and stealth superiority.

What factors call into question the classification of the J-20 as a fifth-generation fighter?
The classification of the J-20 as a fifth-generation fighter is questionable due to its development based on foreign technologies and lack of genuine innovation. Although it has impressive features, doubts about its original design and efficiency in real combat scenarios, coupled with the perception that its focus on stealth is more an attempt to imitate than to innovate, undermine its status as a true fifth-generation fighter.

What aspects of the Su-57 design could affect its stealthiness?
Despite Russian claims about the Su-57’s stealthiness, there is skepticism about its true capabilities. Experts suggest that, although it presents technological advances, the effectiveness of its stealth and operability needs to be rigorously tested. The lack of transparency and objective evidence keeps the debate going over whether it actually meets the standards of a fifth-generation stealth fighter.

How does the RCS reduction compare between the J-20 and the Su-57?
Both the J-20 and Su-57 have adopted design features to reduce their Radar Cross Section (RCS), but not necessarily to the level of the F-22 or F-35. Although both aircraft show efforts to incorporate stealth elements, such as blended fuselages, certain aspects, such as the J-20’s fins, could compromise their stealth capabilities. These fighters are considered advanced, but their true classification as fifth-generation stealth fighters remains in doubt.

What controversies surround the development of the Chengdu J-20?
The development of the J-20 has been marked by controversies, mainly accusations of cyber espionage and the adoption of features from Western fighters. These accusations raise questions about the originality and true innovativeness of the J-20. The dependence on Western innovations, evident in structural similarities and the development time after the introduction of the F-22, has led to questions about the authenticity of this Chinese fighter.

What operational advantages does the Su-57 offer according to Russian experts?
Russian experts, such as Alexei Leonkov, highlight that the Su-57 offers advantages in terms of arsenal and technologies, including an advanced radar system and electronic warfare capabilities. It is argued that its versatility in air and ground missions positions it above its Western counterparts. However, these claims must be critically evaluated, considering the context of national claims and the need for objective evidence.

How do foreign experts assess the capabilities of the Su-57?
Military experts outside Russia are often skeptical about the Su-57’s capabilities, especially compared to Western fifth-generation fighters. Although they recognize that it represents an advance for Russian military aviation, the lack of concrete and transparent evidence means that its classification as a true fifth-generation fighter is debated.

What doubts exist about the operational capacity of the J-20 in real combat?
Although the J-20’s design is impressive, there are questions about its efficiency in real combat scenarios. The lack of concrete and transparent evidence about its stealth capacity and dependence on Western technologies call into question its real operational performance. These uncertainties affect the perception of its classification as a true fifth-generation fighter.

Are the J-20 and Su-57 true competitors for Western fighters?
While the J-20 and Su-57 represent significant advances in Chinese and Russian military aviation, respectively, their competition with Western fifth-generation fighters remains a topic of debate. The lack of objective evidence and uncertainty over their true stealth capability and operational efficiency place them in a “maybe 5” category, indicating that they may not be fully on par with the standards set by fighters such as the F-22 and F-22. 35.