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Rafale is no way near stealth fighter J-20, Chinese and Indian Military experts opinions

There are fierce social media comments and criticism is going on between two nuclear-armed south Asian countries India and China due to the Ladakh issue between the two nations. 

The matter which puts hot water on the issue is the new arrival of 5 Rafale fighter jets to India, from the batch of 36 Rafale’s which India ordered in 2016 in a step forward to modernize its air force for future wars and to balance its power against two quality air forces Pakistan and China. 

 Former air chief marshal B S Dhanoa said, Hindustan Times

“Rafale with its top of the line electronic warfare suite, Meteor beyond visual range missile, SCALP air to a ground weapon with terrain-following capability outguns any threat that Chinese Air Force produces”

“If IAF is successful in the destruction of enemy air defenses and suppression of enemy air defenses, then Chinese fighters out in the open at Hotan airbase and Gonggar airbase at Lhasa airports are fair targets. Some 70 aircraft are without protection at Hotan and some 26 aircraft may be parked inside a tunnel which the PLA were building at Lhasa airbase”

According to Hindustan Times

The air chief marshal Dhanoa is very confident that the Indian Air Force with its latest Rafale and SU-30 MKI will be able to counter the best Chinese throw at India in the worst case. “Chinese air threat is mainly from their surface to air missile systems”.  Retired Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa.

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If Chinese equipment is good and reliable then why did the Pakistanis use F-16 aircraft instead of JF-17 to strike the Rajouri sector on 27 February 2019 with JF-17 was just providing air defense cover to Mirage bombers. Why did Pakistan use European radars and Turkish targeting pods? Former Air Chief Marshal said in a statement.

Chinese military experts said,

“Rafale is only a third plus generation fighter jet and does not stand much of a chance against a stealth fourth-generation one like the J-20”

According to Global Times

Rafale vs J20
Rafale Fighter Jet

(Chinese uses their own term of generations like in Chinese 3rd generation is equal to 4th generation in general and 4th generation is equal to 5th generation)

In some areas, Rafale is better than Su-30 MKI, a Russian made fighter jet, which the Indian air force is already operating, but Rafale is only one-fourth of a generation ahead of Su-30 MKI fighter jet and does not yield a qualitative change. Zhang Xeufeng, a Chinese military expert, told Global Times. 

Thanks to Rafale’s AESA radar, advanced weapons, and limited stealth capabilities, Rafale is comparable to other third-plus generation fighter jets used by other countries. But it is very difficult for Rafale to confront a stealth capable fourth-generation fighter jet which is a generation ahead and far more superior to the Rafale, said Global Times. 

Both nations claim their fighter jets are far more superior to their rivals.


  1. Article published in Global Times