As India and China refuse to back down, a look at IAF's Rafale vs PLA Air Force's J-20
A necessary comparison
According to a report by IANS, the Indian Army is stretched between its northern borders with China where it is locked in multiple standoffs with the Chinese People's Liberation Army, while in the western borders it is busy tackling the increasing cross-border firing and infiltration bids by Pakistan-based terror groups. In either case, it is air power that could tip the balance. The Rafale fighter aircraft is armed with beyond visual range missiles like Meteor, SCALP and MICA, increasing their ability to take on incoming targets from a distance.
Straight from the horse’s mouth
A senior Indian Air Force officer said that Rafale fighter jets would be a major force multiplier. "There would always be a fear factor within the minds of the enemies," said the officer, adding that even one Indian Rafale fighter can thwart the enemy's plans. He also explained that India will be supreme in the sky when the Rafale fighter aircraft would enter the theatre.
What China claims
The Chinese PLA Air Force has about 157 fighters and 20 GJ-1/WD-1K precision strike UAVs. China claims that its domestically developed J-10C and J-16 fighter jets are far more advanced than Russia-made Mig-29s, Su-30s and France-made Mirage 2000 jets. It also claims that its J-20 stealth fighter jet has a generational advantage over Indian aircraft, a gap that cannot be fulfilled by any means. (Representative Image)
India’s ace in its cards
India, on the other hand, claims that the Mirage 2000 and Sukhoi 30 have given the Indian Air Force an edge over China's J10, J11 and Su-27 fighter jets. India also has all-weather multirole aircraft, whereas only the J10 in China has this capability. It is stated that India's Western Air Command has deployed 75 fighters and 34 ground attack aircraft, while the Eastern Air Command has deployed 101 fighters.
And even though the PLA Air Force has more fighters, airstrips high in the Tibetan Plateau would mean that they would have to trade-off between the payload and fuel. In contrast, Indian fighters will largely be using airstrips that are located at the sea level. (Representative Image)