Air supremacy is an important key to victory in modern warfare, and the role of fighter jets is very important. The current number of fighter aircraft equipment in China, the United States, and Russia is obvious. The United States also ranks first in the world with more than 2,000 aircraft. Owning so many fighters seems to be a commonplace trifle for the United States. However, the latest of these fighters is the fifth-generation fighter. If a horizontal comparison is made, the three major powers have three representative fighters, so which fighter is the ost powerfull among them?
According to European and American standards and if you look at the criteria of a 5th generation fighter then China and Russia’s fifth-generation fighter not meet the criteria curently F-22 is the only fighter that meets all the criteria of 5th generation fighter.
Basic Criteria of Fifth Gen Aircraft
- Minimum fighter visibility in the radar wavelength range and in the infrared range (EPR).
- Multifunctionality, in the form of the ability to defeat air, ground, and surface targets.
- The ability to fly a fighter at supersonic speed without including afterburner.
- Super maneuverability.
- The fighter must have a circular information system.
- Airborne radar with AFAR.
Let’s not take this intergenerational issue seriously here, but only compare the three representative models. As the most advanced fighters of the three countries, what are the advantages?
The research and development of fighter jets in the United States started early, and there are many powerful models, and the speed of replacement is also very fast. In particular, the number of purchased equipment is astonishing, and the number of fighters is increased by hundreds at every turn. The overall air combat power formed is very terrifying.
The F-22 Raptor is the oldest and most advanced fighter jets in the world. Developed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing for the USAF, the fighter jet is not for sale to other countries and was inducted by the US Air Force in 2005. The F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation extremely advanced tactical fighter known for its stealth, integrated avionics, superior performance and super-maneuverability. The Raptor made its first flight in September 1997 and can be used in a wide array of missions, including surveillance, reconnaissance, attack, electronic warfare and signals intelligence.
F-22 Raptor is the only 5th generation fighter aircraft that can supercruise. F-22 is capable of thrust vectoring is just one of the few things that make it such an incredible asset for the US to have. Thrust-vectoring nozzles were added by the Lockheed-led team on the F-22 in order to achieve an enhanced level of maneuverability.
F-22 has been designed for a lifespan of 30 years and 8,000 flight hours, alongside a $100 million “structures retrofit program”. The F-22 can carry a large number of weapons as it has four hardpoints on the wings, all of which can carry around 5,000 lbs and are capable of holding external fuel tanks or AIM-120A AMRAAM. The F-22 comes with three internal weapon bays, and the main weapons bay can carry the highest number of weapons.
However, with a price tag of $150, you could buy a brand new Airbus A320 and SAVE $50 Million. More impressive is the estimated lifecycle cost of over $334 Million
F-35 Lightning II
In addition to the Raptor F22 built in the early years, the United States also has the new F-35 as the representative of the fifth-generation aircraft. It is not only equipped in large quantities, but also exported. Many countries with good relations with the United States are almost all equipped with this fighter.
However, this equipment is really complex. Even the expensive tactical helmet, which costs millions of dollars, has several design problems that almost immediately put the driver at risk for hypoxia at high altitudes. The United States began to consider reducing costs from the F-35 to increase production. However, I’m not sure whether it is not applied to cost-cutting measures because the aircraft’s failure and performance have decreased.
Putting aside the flaws of the fighter, the comprehensive strength of this fifth-generation fighter is still very obvious. The aircraft used in this fighter is a Pratt & Whitney F135 engine with a thrust of 19 tons and a maximum flight speed of Mach 1.6, which exceeds 1,800 kilometers per hour, because the design was originally focused on supporting operations on the ground, without taking too many tests. Air combat and other purposes, so the F35 can also achieve a variety of tasks. The maximum take-off weight is 31 tons. If it is fully loaded with weapons and fuel, the speed will be slower. F-35 in beast mode can carry more than 9 tonnes of weapons.
Russia’s fifth-generation fighter jets are Su-57. The flight data disclosed by Russia shows that the flight speed of this fighter jet can reach 1,450 kilometers per hour, and the flight speed is also higher than that of ordinary fighter jets, and the actual flight speed is even faster.
The Su-57 fighter also has a stealth function. It uses a dual-engine design and can perform various combat missions. It is also focused on ground combat support. It can be said that the design function has the same needs and purposes as the American F-35.
This Su 57 is also Russia’s first attempt to build a stealth fighter. As a successful model, it will continue to expand and improve in the field of stealth fighters in the future. It is believed that more powerful models will come out.
The Su-57 has a maximum take-off weight of 35,000 kilograms, a combat radius of 1,200 kilometers, and is equipped with 4 weapon bays to achieve a dual combination of flight and stealth capabilities. Ground attacks and raids, with the blessing of stealth, will perform well in tactical strikes and maneuverable operations.
Su-57 fighter jets use one-third of the cabin space to design and carry weapons. The full load can carry more than 10 tons of weapons without stealth mode. It also carries guided bombs, etc., as well as long-range missiles and medium-range missiles. When you do not need to perform tasks stealthily, you can also attach a weapon rack and carry weapons such as smart ammunition.
Although Russia’s military technology is not good at complex electronic equipment, it has unique technology in power equipment. The flight speed is higher than that of the US F-22, which is even more than the F-35.
In terms of weapons and equipment, it also has a comprehensive firepower configuration, and its combat capability is also very prominent. Although the Su-57 is not much more powerful than the fifth-generation aircraft in the United States, its actual combat power is unquestionable.
J-20 Mighty Dragon
China’s most advanced fifth-generation fighter is the J-20 stealth fighter. It has been equipped with troops and has also made breakthroughs in aviation engines. It adopts dual-engine power, with an apparent length of 21 meters, a height of 4.6 meters, a relatively large volume, and a cruising speed of Mach 2. But still Chinese J-20 facing engine problems.
The J-20 fighter can complete a cruising range of 52 kilometers in 60 seconds. Also, J-20 is the only 5th gen. fighter that has a dual seat variant as J-20B.
The jet is made for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) and has been on the active duty since 2017. The aircraft can hold a mix of beyond-visual-range air-to-air and short-range missiles, air-to-surface missiles, laser-guided bombs and anti-radiation missiles. According to The National Interest publication, the J-20 is a kind of symbiosis from Russian and American developments.
In contrast, the fifth-generation fighters of China, the United States and Russia, it is not so difficult to say who is more powerful, but each has its own advantages. It is a genuine testament to the growth of the military sector that China was later able to compete with the two military superpowers, the United States and Russia.
And YES you guessed it right, the first 5th-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor, just meets all of the above requirements of fifth generation fighter, That’s why Americans never sold the F-22 to anyone.
Apart from these fifth gen fighter jets, the current-gen fighter jets used by most of the countries across the globe are called the fourth gen fighter jets and some of them after inducing advanced updates are also called 4.5 gen fighter jet or 4++ fighter jet. Dassault Rafale is one such fighter jet which was recently inducted in the Indian Air Force. Eurofighter Typhoon and Sukhoi Su-35 among others are few other popular names. However, these jets are not as advanced as the fifth-gen fighter jets and hence, were not included in the list.