J-20 vs F-22 vs F-35: How does China's fifth-generation warplane compare to the West's?

This year marked China's 14th annual airshow, and with it came a glimpse at Beijing’s most advanced fighter jet.

The J-20 'Mighty Dragon' warplane went on public display on the ground for the first time.

Entering service in 2017, the J-20 is China's answer to the US F-22 Raptor and one of the world's few fifth-generation warplanes.

Its production has been shrouded in secrecy, much like the F-22 – even if the US equivalent has been around longer.

Lockheed Martin developed the F-22 for the exclusive use of the US Air Force, with exports banned to protect its stealth technology – even to America's closest allies. 

There are some similarities between the two planes, which has led to speculation China's cyber warfare teams stole data from the US. 

Even though they are closely matched, the F-35 joint strike fighter is more likely to be the J-20's adversary.

With an estimated 74 in service, the J-20 can reach a speed of Mach 2.25, has a combat range of 1,100 nautical miles and can reach a service ceiling of 66,000ft.

Watch: 617 Squadron F-35 Lighting jets land on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

In comparison, the F-22 has the same speed as the J-20, Mach 2.25 with a smaller combat range of 460 nautical miles and a smaller service ceiling of 65,000ft.

The F-22 has no naval variant to operate from aircraft carriers, however, and production of the aircraft stopped in 2011.

The F-35 aircraft is much more prominent. 

In the US alone, there are 450 of the aircraft in service, with a further 750 in service worldwide.

With a max speed of 1.6 Mach, the combat range is 669 nautical missiles and it has a service ceiling of 55,000ft.

The J-20 is both faster and has a longer range than the F-35, while later models of the J-20 have supercruise – an ability to fly at high speed without afterburners.

However, the Chinese fighter jet does have inferior stealth attributes to the F-35.

Any true difference between the jets is likely to be down to less visible technology, such as sensor range, onboard data processing and weapons targeting precision.

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