Home Equipments Chengdu J-20 Vs. F-35 Lightning II Comparison, BVR & Dogfight (Who Wins)

Chengdu J-20 Vs. F-35 Lightning II Comparison, BVR & Dogfight (Who Wins)

The Chengdu J-20 and the F-35 Lightning II are both fifth-generation fighter aircraft that incorporate advanced technologies for stealth, avionics, and weapons systems. They are both designed to operate in a variety of roles, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

Both the Chengdu J-20 and the F-35 Lightning II represent the cutting edge of fighter aircraft technology, with advanced features that give them a significant advantage in combat. However, they have different design philosophies and operational requirements, and they are likely to be used in different ways by their respective operators.

Chengdu J-20

The Chengdu J-20 is a single-seat, twin-engine stealth fighter aircraft developed by China’s Chengdu Aerospace Corporation. It is designed to have a high level of stealth capability, with a low radar cross-section and advanced avionics, including a phased-array radar system. The J-20 is capable of carrying a range of air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons, and it has a maximum speed of around Mach 2.

F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine stealth fighter aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin for the United States and its allies. It is designed to have a high level of stealth capability, with advanced sensors and avionics that provide pilots with a high degree of situational awareness. The F-35 is capable of carrying a wide range of weapons, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and precision-guided bombs, and it has a maximum speed of around Mach 1.6.

Chengdu J-20 Vs. F-35 Lightning II

  • Stealth Capability: Both aircraft incorporate advanced stealth technologies, but the J-20 is believed to have a larger radar cross-section than the F-35 due to differences in design.
  • Range and Endurance: The J-20 has a longer range than the F-35 and can stay in the air for a longer period of time, making it more suitable for long-range missions.
  • Speed: The J-20 has a higher maximum speed than the F-35, but the F-35 has a better thrust-to-weight ratio, which gives it better acceleration and maneuverability.
  • Weapons Load: The J-20 can carry a larger weapons load than the F-35, making it more suitable for missions that require a large amount of firepower.
  • Avionics and Sensors: Both aircraft have advanced avionics and sensor suites, but the F-35’s system is considered more integrated and sophisticated.
  • Crew: The J-20 has a single-seat cockpit, while the F-35 has a single-seat cockpit for the F-35A and F-35C variants, and a two-seat cockpit for the F-35B variant.
  • Cost: The J-20 is significantly less expensive than the F-35, but it is also less proven and has not been exported to other countries.
  • Operators: The J-20 is primarily operated by the Chinese military, while the F-35 is operated by the United States and its allies.
  • Production and Deployment: The J-20 is still in the early stages of production and deployment, while the F-35 has been in production for over a decade and is already in service with several countries.
  • Mission Profiles: The J-20 is primarily designed for air-to-air combat and long-range strike missions, while the F-35 is designed for a wide range of missions, including air-to-air combat, air-to-ground strikes, and ISR missions.

Chengdu J-20 Vs. F-35 Lightning II Data Table

Feature Chengdu J-20 F-35 Lightning II
Origin China United States
Role Stealth Fighter Multirole Fighter
First Flight 2011 2006 (F-35A)
Introduced Circa 2017 2015 (F-35A)
Variants J-20A (Initial), Future Variants F-35A, F-35B, F-35C
Length Approx. 20.3 meters (66.6 ft) 15.67 meters (51.4 ft)
Wingspan Approx. 13.5 meters (44.3 ft) 10.7 meters (35.0 ft)
Maximum Speed Estimated > Mach 2 Mach 1.6+ (F-35A)
Range Approx. 2,000 km (1,243 miles) Approx. 2,200 km (1,367 mi)
Combat Radius Estimated > 1,100 km (683 mi) Approx. 1,100 km (683 mi)
Engine WS-10B or WS-15 (estimated) F135 (F-35A/B/C)
Thrust (max) Classified F135-PW-100: 28,000 lbf (125 kN)
Max Takeoff Weight Estimated > 37,000 kg (81,000 lbs) F-35A: 31,900 kg (70,500 lbs)
Payload Classified Internal/External Hardpoints
Stealth Capability Advanced Advanced
Sensors AESA Radar, IRST, ESM AESA Radar, EO DAS, EOTS
Cost (unit) Estimated > $100 million F-35A: Approx. $89 million (2021)
Production Status In limited service In service

Similarity Between Chengdu J-20 and F-35 Lightning II

While the Chengdu J-20 and the F-35 Lightning II are distinct aircraft developed by different countries for different purposes, there are some similarities between them, particularly in terms of their design features and capabilities. Here are a few similarities:

  • Stealth Technology: Both the J-20 and the F-35 incorporate advanced stealth technology to reduce their radar cross-section and enhance their survivability in contested environments. They feature radar-absorbent materials, optimized shapes, and internal weapons bays to minimize their radar signatures.
  • Advanced Avionics: Both aircraft are equipped with cutting-edge avionics systems, including advanced radar systems and sensor suites. The J-20 features an AESA radar and an infrared search and track (IRST) system, while the F-35 has an advanced radar system and multiple sensors, including the Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS).
  • Internal Weapons Bays: Both aircraft are designed with internal weapons bays to carry a significant portion of their ordnance internally, which helps maintain their stealth characteristics while carrying a variety of weapons and munitions.
  • Multirole Capabilities: While the J-20 is primarily classified as a stealth fighter, it is expected to have multirole capabilities, similar to the F-35. The F-35 Lightning II is known for its ability to perform multiple roles, including air superiority, ground attack, electronic warfare, and reconnaissance.
  • Future Development Potential: Both aircraft represent the next generation of fighter technology for their respective countries and have the potential for future upgrades and variants. The J-20 and the F-35 are likely to undergo continued development to enhance their capabilities and address evolving threats.
  • Global Interest and Export: Both the J-20 and the F-35 have garnered significant international attention and have been offered for export to allied and partner nations. This reflects their status as advanced, high-performance fighter platforms.


In Conclusion, The J-20 has a longer range, higher speed, and larger weapons load, while the F-35 has a more advanced avionics and sensor suite, better acceleration and maneuverability, and a more versatile mission profile. Both aircraft have advanced stealth capabilities, but the F-35 is considered more advanced in this area due to its design and development history. Additionally, the J-20 is less expensive but less proven than the F-35, which has been in production and deployment for over a decade. Ultimately, the choice between the two aircraft will depend on the specific needs and operational requirements of the countries and militaries that operate them.


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