While debates and uncertainties continue to swirl around how agile, lethal, stealthy and advanced China’s J-20 stealth fighter may be, the country may simply have another challenge crippling its ability to rival the F-22 and F-35: There simply are not enough J-20s.
Several interesting reports cite production problems and delays with J-20 manufacturing, particularly centered around the J-20’s “high-thrust turbofan WS-15 engine.” A report from the South China Morning Post says J-20 engine work has “fallen behind schedule,” and that China was “thought to have built about 50 J-20s by the end of 2019, but problems with the jets engines delayed production plans.”
If China has in fact produced 50 of its highly touted J-20, that still falls way short of the U.S.’ current fleet of ready and armed 5th Gen fighters. Lockheed statements given to The National Interest report that the firm has built and delivered 195 F-22s, with 186 of them combat ready.
Made by Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the F-22 uses two Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 turbofan engines with afterburners and two-dimensional thrust vectoring nozzles, an Air Force statement said. It is 16-feet tall, 62-feet long and weighs 43,340 pounds.
Its maximum take-off weight is 83,500; there is much interesting discussion comparing F-35 and F-22 engine thrust to China’s J-20 engine.