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F-22 Raptors Vs. Chengdu J-20 : China’s Most Advanced Fighter Jets Compared to US F-22 Raptor

F-22 Vs. J-20: In the realm of modern military aviation, the competition between superpowers has birthed some of the most awe-inspiring and technologically advanced fighter jets. One such riveting rivalry exists between the United States and China, two global heavyweights vying for dominance in the skies. At the center of this aviation arms race are two remarkable aircraft: the American F-22 Raptor and the Chinese Chengdu J-20. These cutting-edge fighter jets stand as testaments to the incredible strides made in aeronautical engineering and stealth technology, each representing their respective nation’s pursuit of aerial superiority. In this blog, we’ll delve into the world of these formidable aircraft, comparing their features, capabilities, and potential implications for the future of air combat.

F-22 Raptors Vs. Chengdu J-20 Detailed Comparison

Design Characteristics:

  • Stealth and Radar Cross-Section: The F-22 Raptor’s design prioritizes low observability, or stealth, by incorporating angles and materials that deflect radar waves away from the source. Its unique “faceted” shape and radar-absorbent coatings minimize its radar cross-section, making it extremely difficult for enemy radar systems to detect. This gives the F-22 a significant advantage in evading detection and tracking.The Chengdu J-20 also places a strong emphasis on stealth, with its angular design and radar-absorbent materials contributing to reduced radar cross-section. Its blended wing-body configuration aids in concealing engine exhaust and enhancing its overall stealth profile. While the specifics of its stealth features are not fully disclosed, the J-20 is designed to reduce its radar signature.
  • Aerodynamics and Maneuverability: The F-22 Raptor boasts exceptional maneuverability thanks to its thrust-vectoring nozzles and advanced fly-by-wire control system. These features enable the Raptor to perform complex aerial maneuvers, allowing it to outmaneuver opponents in dogfights. Its delta-wing design and twin-engine layout contribute to both agility and stability.The Chengdu J-20’s design emphasizes high-speed, long-range capabilities, and while it is less maneuverable than the F-22, it compensates with its emphasis on stealth and sensor capabilities. Its delta-wing configuration and canard layout contribute to stable flight and enhanced control at various speeds.
  • Avionics and Sensor Suites: The F-22 Raptor is equipped with a sophisticated suite of sensors, including advanced radar and electronic warfare systems, which enable it to detect and engage threats from a distance. Its ability to gather and process data rapidly gives it a significant situational awareness advantage.The Chengdu J-20’s avionics suite includes an advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, which enhances its ability to track multiple targets simultaneously. Its avionics suite also includes electronic warfare and countermeasures systems, showcasing China’s investment in sensor technology.
  • Internal Weapons Bay: Both the F-22 and J-20 feature internal weapons bays to maintain their stealth profiles while carrying a substantial payload of missiles and munitions. This internal arrangement reduces the aircraft’s radar cross-section compared to external weapon mounting, allowing for enhanced survivability in contested environments.

Speed and Agility:

F-22 Raptor: The F-22’s unmatched speed and agility are cornerstones of its performance. It can reach speeds exceeding Mach 2 (twice the speed of sound) without using afterburners, a capability known as supercruise. This allows the F-22 to sustain high speeds for extended periods while conserving fuel. Additionally, its thrust-vectoring nozzles provide exceptional maneuverability, enabling it to execute complex aerial maneuvers and gain an advantage in dogfights.

Chengdu J-20: While specific performance figures are often closely guarded by nations, the Chengdu J-20 is designed for high-speed, stealthy operations. Its top speed is estimated to be in the range of Mach 2, similar to the F-22. However, its emphasis lies more in its stealth features and sensor capabilities rather than extreme maneuverability, making it a potential long-range strike platform.


  • F-22 Raptor: Powered by two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines, the F-22 achieves exceptional thrust, efficiency, and supercruise capability. Thrust-vectoring nozzles grant unparalleled maneuverability.
  • Chengdu J-20: Equipped with two WS-10B turbofan engines, the J-20 showcases China’s strides in indigenous engine technology. Although specific thrust figures are variable, these engines propel the J-20 with considerable power.


  • F-22 Raptor: The F-22’s angular design and radar-absorbent materials create a low radar cross-section. Its internal weapons bays further reduce its radar signature, allowing for undetected operations.
  • Chengdu J-20: The J-20’s stealth profile is achieved through an angular fuselage, radar-absorbent materials, and concealed engine exhausts. Its canard delta wing configuration enhances stability and contributes to reduced radar visibility.


  • F-22 Raptor: The F-22 is armed with a mix of air-to-air and air-to-ground weaponry, including AIM-120 AMRAAM and AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, as well as precision-guided bombs.
  • Chengdu J-20: The J-20 carries a diverse array of air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions, with specifics varying based on its evolving role.

Avionics and Sensors:

  • F-22 Raptor: The F-22’s avionics suite includes advanced radar, electronic warfare systems, and data fusion capabilities. Its AESA radar enables target tracking and engagement, enhancing situational awareness.
  • Chengdu J-20: The J-20 boasts an advanced AESA radar and a comprehensive avionics suite, with a focus on multi-target tracking and potential data-sharing capabilities.


  • F-22 Raptor: The F-22 production was axed because of its high cost – US$62 billion for the whole project, which equates to US$339 million per aircraft.
  • Chengdu J-20: The J-20’s research and development cost was estimated to be more than 30 billion yuan (US$4.4 billion), with a cost per aircraft of US$100-110 million.

F-22 Raptors Vs. Chengdu J-20 Data Table

Here’s a data table comparing the key features of the F-22 Raptor and the Chengdu J-20:

Aspect F-22 Raptor Chengdu J-20
Engines Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines WS-10B turbofan engines
Thrust (each) Over 35,000 lbs Estimated 30,000 – 33,000 lbs
Stealth Advanced angular design, radar-absorbent materials Angular fuselage, radar-absorbent materials
Supercruise Yes (Mach 2+ without afterburners) Yes (Mach 2, estimated)
Maneuverability Thrust-vectoring nozzles Focus on agility and stability
Armaments AIM-120 AMRAAM, AIM-9 Sidewinder, precision bombs Diverse air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions
Avionics Advanced radar, electronic warfare systems Advanced AESA radar, comprehensive avionics suite
Cost US$339 million per aircraft US$110 million per aircraft

Similarity between F-22 Raptors and Chengdu J-20

While the F-22 Raptor and the Chengdu J-20 are distinct aircraft developed by different countries, there are some similarities in their design, features, and capabilities due to their shared status as fifth-generation fighter jets. Here are some of the key similarities between the F-22 Raptor and the Chengdu J-20:

  • Stealth Design: Both aircraft place a strong emphasis on stealth technology to reduce their radar cross-section and enhance survivability in contested environments. They feature angular shapes, radar-absorbent materials, and internal weapons bays to minimize their radar signatures.
  • Advanced Avionics: Both the F-22 and J-20 are equipped with state-of-the-art avionics and sensor suites, including advanced radar systems. These systems provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness and target detection capabilities.
  • Multirole Capability: While the primary roles of the two aircraft may differ, they are designed to be versatile and capable of both air-to-air and air-to-ground missions. This multirole capability allows them to adapt to various mission profiles.
  • Supercruise: Both aircraft have the ability to achieve supercruise, which means they can sustain supersonic flight speeds without relying on afterburners. This provides them with increased range and fuel efficiency during high-speed operations.
  • Canard Delta Wing Configuration: While the F-22 has a delta wing design with canards (small forward wings), the J-20 also features a canard delta wing configuration. This design choice contributes to stability, control, and agility.
  • Modern Manufacturing Techniques: Both aircraft incorporate advanced manufacturing techniques and materials, including composite structures, to reduce weight and enhance performance.
  • Emphasis on Advanced Engines: Both the F-22 and J-20 are powered by advanced turbofan engines that provide high thrust and efficiency. The F-22’s F119 engines and the J-20’s WS-10B engines contribute to their overall performance.
  • Data Sharing and Fusion: While specific details are classified, both aircraft likely incorporate data sharing and fusion capabilities that allow information from various sensors to be integrated and presented to the pilot, enhancing situational awareness.

Who Wins – F-22 or J-20 Mighty Dragon?

Determining a clear winner between the F-22 Raptor and the Chengdu J-20 “Mighty Dragon” is a complex task and largely depends on the context in which they are compared. Both aircraft have their own strengths, capabilities, and intended roles, and the outcome of any hypothetical confrontation would depend on various factors including pilot skill, tactics, situational awareness, and technological advancements. Here’s a breakdown of key factors to consider:

  • Experience and Combat Record: The F-22 Raptor has a significant advantage in terms of combat experience, having been in service for years. It has demonstrated its capabilities and effectiveness in various military exercises and real-world operations. The J-20, being relatively newer, hasn’t yet amassed a comparable combat record.
  • Stealth and Detection: Both aircraft emphasize stealth technology, but the F-22 Raptor is often considered to have a more mature and advanced stealth profile due to its earlier development. However, the J-20’s specific stealth capabilities are still subject to speculation, and China’s investment in stealth technology suggests a significant effort to reduce its radar cross-section.
  • Maneuverability: The F-22 is known for its exceptional maneuverability, thanks to its thrust-vectoring nozzles. This gives it an edge in dogfighting scenarios and evasive maneuvers. The J-20, while less maneuverable, is designed to balance agility with stability.
  • Avionics and Sensors: Both aircraft possess advanced avionics and sensor suites. The F-22’s established suite provides superior situational awareness, but the J-20’s AESA radar and sensor capabilities indicate a focus on detecting and engaging targets from a distance.
  • Geography and Tactics: The outcome of any potential confrontation would also depend on factors such as the environment, mission objectives, and tactics employed. Stealth capabilities might be more advantageous in certain scenarios, while speed and long-range engagement could be crucial in others.
  • National Strategy: The strategic context matters as well. The F-22 is part of the United States’ air superiority doctrine, while the J-20 represents China’s pursuit of advanced aerial capabilities.
  • Technological Parity: Advancements in technology, including sensor systems, countermeasures, and weapon systems, could influence the outcome in favor of either aircraft.

In the end, it’s important to recognize that any hypothetical confrontation between the F-22 Raptor and the Chengdu J-20 would involve a multitude of variables, and the result could differ depending on the specific circumstances.


  • What are the F-22 Raptor and Chengdu J-20?
    The F-22 Raptor is an advanced fifth-generation fighter jet developed by the United States. The Chengdu J-20, also known as the Mighty Dragon, is a fifth-generation fighter jet developed by China.
  • What are the main similarities between the F-22 and J-20?
    Both aircraft share design elements that focus on stealth technology, advanced avionics, multirole capabilities, and modern manufacturing techniques. They both have canard delta wing configurations and emphasize high performance.
  • How do the engines of the F-22 and J-20 compare?
    The F-22 is powered by Pratt & Whitney F119 engines, while the J-20 uses indigenous WS-10B engines. Both engines provide substantial thrust and contribute to the aircraft’s performance.
  • What is “stealth” in these aircraft?
    Stealth technology reduces the radar cross-section of aircraft, making them harder to detect by enemy radar systems. Both the F-22 and J-20 feature angular designs, radar-absorbent materials, and internal weapons bays to achieve stealth.
  • Can the F-22 and J-20 perform supersonic flight?
    Yes, both aircraft can achieve supersonic speeds. The F-22’s engines allow it to reach speeds exceeding Mach 2 without afterburners. The J-20 is estimated to have a top speed around Mach 2.
  • Are the F-22 and J-20 multirole aircraft?
    Yes, both aircraft are designed to handle multiple roles, including air-to-air combat and air-to-ground missions. Their avionics and weapon systems enable them to adapt to various scenarios.
  • What is the controversy surrounding alleged technology theft?
    There have been allegations that the Chengdu J-20’s design incorporates elements similar to the F-22 Raptor, leading to suspicions of technology theft. However, concrete evidence is limited, and both countries maintain their respective positions.
  • How true is the allegation that China’s J-20 is technology stolen from F-22?
    The allegation that China’s J-20 is a direct result of stolen F-22 technology lacks conclusive evidence and remains a subject of debate. While some similarities exist in design, China’s development of the J-20 likely involved a combination of indigenous research, reverse engineering, and global technology partnerships.
  • What distinguishes the F-22 from the J-20 in terms of combat experience?
    The F-22 has an advantage in terms of combat experience, having participated in various operations and military exercises. The J-20, being a newer aircraft, has not yet demonstrated a comparable combat record.
  • How do these aircraft influence modern air warfare?
    The F-22 and J-20 represent the forefront of aerial technology for their respective nations. They showcase advancements in stealth, avionics, and multirole capabilities, influencing the way air combat is conducted and shaping the strategic balance between superpowers.


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