Monday 1 March 2021
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Rafale vs China’s J-20 vs Pakistan’s JF-17

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Politics India Rafale vs China’s J-20 vs Pakistan’s JF-17

With the first batch of five out of 36 Rafale jets arriving from France for the Indian Air Force (IAF) — the need for which was felt the most due to the possibility of a two-front war thrust on India facing depleting squadrons by hostile neighbours China and Pakistan — it is in order to see how this fighter jet fares in competition with the Chengdu JF-17 Thunder that China has sold to Pakistan and the higher J-20 version it has kept with itself. Here’s a comparison in the tabular form.

SpecifcationsFrench-made Rafale of IndiaChinese-made JF-17 Thunder of PakistanChina’s own J-20
Battle-testedYes [Tested in NATO/France’s 30,000 flight hours in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria]NoNo
SeatsSingle & DoubleSingle & DoubleSingle
Empty weight9,900 kg to 10.600 kg6,411 kg 19,000 kg
Maximum take-off weight24,500 kg12,474 kg37,013 kg
Fuel and weapons per flightHighMediumHigh
Length15.30 m14.93 m20.3 – 20.5 m
Height5.3 m4.77 m
Wingspan10.9 m9.48 m12.88 – 13.50 m
Maximum speedMach 1.8/750 ktMach 1.6Mach 2
Can climb up to50,000 ft54,000 ft65,620 ft
Rate of climbing60,000 ft/min59,000 ft/min59,842.52 ft/min
Operational range3,700 km (greater if refuelled mid-air)2,000 km2,037 km
Weapons1. MICA air-to-air BVR interception, combat and self-defence missiles
2. METEOR very long-range air-to-air missile
3. SCALP long-range air-to-land missile
4. AM39 EXOCET anti-ship missile
5. Non-guided and laser-guided bombs with warheads from 500 lbs to 2,000 lbs
Air-to-air missiles:
PL-5EII (within visual range missile)
PL-9C (WVR missile)
AIM-9L/M Sidewinder (Short-range)
PL-8 (Short-range)
PL-15 ( Very Long range Beyond Visual range missile)
R-Darter (beyond visual range missile)
SD-10A (PL-12 export version) (beyond visual range missile)
Air-to-surface missiles:
CM-102 (anti-radiation missile)
LD-10 (anti-radiation missile)
MAR-1 (anti-radiation missile)
Ra’ad (Nuclear Stealth Cruise missile)
Ra’ad MK-2 (Nuclear Stealth Cruise missile)
Anti-ship missiles:
C-802AK (anti-ship missile)
Exocet (anti-ship missile)
C-803 (sea skimming anti-ship missile)
CM-400AKG (anti-ship missile)
Unguided bombs:
Mk-80(General-purpose bomb)
Mk-82 (General-purpose bomb)
Mk-83 (General-purpose bomb)
Mk-84 (General-purpose bomb)
250 kg Pre-fragmented bomb
Matra Durandal (Anti-runway bomb)
AWC HAFR-2 (Anti-runway bomb)
AWC HAFR-1 (Anti-runway bomb)
AWC RPB-1 (Anti-runway bomb)
CBU-99 (Anti-armour cluster bomb)
CBU-100 Cluster Bomb (Anti-armour cluster bomb)
Guided bombs:
GBU-10 (Laser-guided bomb)
GBU-12 (Laser-guided bomb)
GBU-16 (Laser-guided bomb)
LT-2 (Precision-guided bomb)
JDAM (Precision-guided bomb)
H-4 SOW Stand off weapon (Precision-guided glide bomb)
H-2 SOW Stand off weapon (Precision-guided glide bomb)
Takbir (GPS/INS guided glide bomb)
LS-6 (GPS/INS guided bomb)
1. PL-10 short-range AAM
2. PL-12 medium-range AAM
3. PL-15 BVR long-range AAM
4. PL-21 long-range AAM
5. LS-6 precision-guided bomb
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