Why is the Indian Air Force not afraid of a Chinese stealth fighter aircraft J-20?
Danial Shazly, Business Consultant, Digital Nomad & Content Writer
The Indian air force has put in so much effort to analyse this jet. The pilots i know have confirmed that the J-20 being a 5th generation jet. There are still areas where the Indian Air Force is able to detect. The J-20 may look like a very sophisticated jet but the IAF believed that their Su-30MKI is able to engage with these jets without any concerns about its abilities.
The Indian intelligence have put in a significant amount of work to analyse the J-20. They have drawn some conclusion based on the design perspective, the power plant and stealth features. Now stealth can be detected even in far distance of over 100km.
When i talk about the threat of J-20. The IAF pilots would say “Yes they are a threat, but we can deal with the threat based on our analysis of the performance of the jet, its capabilities and from there we could understand its potential weaknesses and strength. We have a tactics to engage the J-20” The IAF will be further improving their jets to meet the new threat. Existing assets such as the Su-30MKI, Dassault Rafale and even the Mirage 2000 are capable jets to counter the J-20. The J-20 in many’s view could be the ultimate weapon in the PLAAF but when the jets starts to take action such as super cruise performance, opening of weapon bay doors, radar emissions etc, the IAF Flankers could detect it even far away!…
Another confidence to the IAF Pilots is the exercise with the US F-22. That confidence is good enough as the pilots was able to shoot down F-22 with their Su-30MKI in close combat. The IAF pilots understand whats coming out of China and i believe they are very much prepared to face any such threats from China.
Shekhar Attri, studies at Reva Institute of Technology and Management Bangalore (2021)
See, J-20 is just a copy of American F-22.
China has always reverse engineered the outside technologies.
Now coming to the point, that why India is not afraid of this aircraft, I will put some points here.
1 Why would any country will put any order of other foreign aircraft, if it has its own advanced aircraft??? Yes, the chinese has put an order of Russian Su-35. Because they know that they are unable to meet there specifications in J-20.
Well they claim to detect stealth aircraft, but there radars are not very good. Hence they plan to buy 4 Russians Su 35.
2 Well this aircraft is in its low rate initial production. Till they will introduced it in PLAAF the Russian Indian FGFA will also be ready for its induction in IAF (maximum 6 months later after J 20).
Now you think, if China are so eager for Su- 35, how advanced will FGFA be, which both Russia and India will not share with anyone.
3 Now if you are thinking they will pass this technology to Pakistan, then forget about this. Firstly it is strictly not for export (same as F-22, no one will share there latest technology), maybe there J-31. Now coming to pakistan, can they afford to buy it!!! Year before they do not go ahead to buy F-16 for $700 million.
And do you actually think China consider pakistan as its ally?? They are just using it for there purpose, and there increasing economy.
4 India is in very few countries that have nuclear triad ie they can attack from land, sea and air. And moreover India’s Missile defence system is ranked among top nations.
5 India always have support of Russia. And now at this time, most country have dispute with China. Vietnam, Japan, US and NATO countries clearly do not like him and will engage in war if they dare to atrack India.
So China will never think to attack India, after looking to our military power. There increasing economy cannt afford any war.
India has never invaded any country first, but if some one will try, we wont tolerate it. And China must know it, that we are always ready for there friendship proposal.
Toms Thomas, Indian Navy, retired.
The Indian Air Force is not afraid of the J-20, because no competent air force ever fears a single weapon system.
Wars are won with ‘Magic Bullets’ only in the minds of ‘armchair generals’ who think playing ‘World of Tanks’ on Steam makes them experts in armored warfare or that reading issues of ‘Aviation Week’ makes them authorities in the field of air wars nd tactics.
Amateurs discuss weapons and tactics, professional soldiers discuss logistics.
Wars are won or lost due to multiple factors, technology is just one of these, there are intangibles such as doctrine, training, morale and logistics. Often, it is the side that is able to lose longer, but keep coming back that ultimately wins. The Romans proved this against Hannibal, and the Soviet Union against the Germans.
The J-20 is a single weapon system, it has a place in the Chinese order of battle, it has a niche in their overall strategic framework. The Indian Air Force has its own planning and counter-planning setup, they will study the 20’s capabilities, the strengths and weaknesses of its air-frame, weapons and sensors, and will adjust doctrine accordingly.
Am really glad that none of the answers here went the usual route of “Its Chinese product, its incapable blah blah”. Believe me, the J-20 is no joke and is definitely a really formidable weapon system in every sense. China possessing such advanced aircraft is definitely a threat to any country that goes confronts PLAAF in the future.
But the biggest reason IAF isn’t much concerned about it is that China is not a natural enemy of India and Chinese advancements in military is never been targeted towards India in a least bit.
Secondly, even thought its already been handed over to the air force, J-20 is not yet completely optimized to perform in its full potential. It will take few more years for J-20 to completely spread its wings. As China already stated its a system for future and India have more than enough time to catch up with that and induct our own 5th gen alternative (FGFA or AMCA) and even better surface based defense systems to counter its threat.
Mark Thomas Vetter, former Processing Geophysicist (1998-2013)
The same reason nobody else is scared of them. First there are no true stealth aircraft. The technology is called low observable and it reduces the radar footprint of the aircraft making it much harder to detect. India has a well organized and professional military, the air defense organization has sufficient radars, communications, and munitions to counter air attacks, no matter how low observable the enemy aircraft are. One weakness of stealth aircraft is that they are just as visible to radars in the VHF band as any other aircraft. This means that interceptors can be guided by ground controllers or AWACS in to the area where the J-20 is close enough so that the low observable doesn’t help much. The J-20 could fly at very low altitude to go under the radar, but this will greatly reduce the range of the J-20 as it has to plow through the thick air near the surface. Plus going through the air at low altitude heats up the surface of the airplane making it more vulnerable to infrared detection.
Rahul Kardam, Entrepreneur, Web-Developer and an investor at heart
Simply because Indian Air Force feels stealth technology as we know it now will be obsolete in next 10–15 years.
See the concept of stealth was born to defeat enemy aircraft detection system. But the concept has been around for more than 2 decades now, and has provided USA its full benefits. Its only now that news of Russian and Chinese radars capable of detecting stealth aircraft are coming in. Within those next 10–15 years, those radars will become more prominent , and will start showing up all around the globe.
This is more of a history repeats itself moment to me. Think of it the time when there were military planes and no radars (in the first half of 20th century). The problem of detecting planes was solved by invention of Radar. Stealth may have changed the nature of the problem a little , but it is essentially the same problem. There are “some” planes which we can’t detect using regular radars, its only a matter of time tech will come up to detect these planes and will proliferate. And the tech has already come up, it just needs time to proliferate.
Sterling Saini, Military Enthusiast
Why should they fear the J-20?
Indian Su-30 MKIs have been able to track it with radar.
Indian Su-30 MKIs are faster, have 3D vector thrust, and better avionics. There is no reason to fear it…
Because J-20 is a total joke. I never heard of stealth aircrafts having canards (the two mini-wings at the front of an aircraft thay increase lift capacity and manoeuverability. Check out a Sukhoi SU 30Mki).
If a fighter aircraft has canards, it can be very well detected by enemy radars. Stealth aircrafts shouldn't have canards.
And don't worry, because Indian Air Force aircrafts have excellent radars and so they would just scoff at J-20.