Business Insider joined war analyst Michael Cofman and asked to share his impressions against US heavy-duty warplanes when Russia and China began to try their own non-radar aircraft.
According to Cofman, the Russian Su-57's secrecy features do not match the US F-22 or F-35, but would be a suitable platform.
He also said that while the Chinese J-20 avionics and software are good, the Su-57 is poorer because the engine is older and the surface is large.
Radar in the world of hard-to-reach aircrafts has seen a stir in recent months - Russia has deployed its Su-57 in Syria, and China has reported that its J-20 is ready for battle.
Business Insider has spoken with Michael Cofman, CNA Senior Associate, for more and more countries in using and attempting to market radar-ridden airplanes (RSA). a researcher and a Wilson Center researcher specializing in the Russian military and defense research, and asked him to compare Su-57 and J-20 with the US RSA aircraft.
Chat transcript has been edited.
Daniel Brown: What do you think about the deployment of S-57 in Syria?
Michael Kofman: They were deployed in Syria for two reasons. First, it seeks to change the narrative prevailing in Syria over the past two weeks and focus a large proportion of media attention on the Su-57. Secondly, to actually demonstrate airplanes, in the hope of causing the interest of potential buyers, since Syria has deployed more than one weapon system.
They are constantly looking for more investors for this technology. Fifth Generation Airplanes - Expensive.
Brown: What do you think of the Su-57?
Kofman: I think they are more difficult to detect than typical fourth-generation aircraft. I do not think that he is confidential - whether the price - equates to F-22 or F-35. I think this is a "budget" RSA aircraft. This will be a very suitable platform. But it's unlikely that it will equal or compete with low-visibility parameters with US airplanes.
On the other hand, it will undoubtedly be a step above the fourth generation of fighter-maneuverability. Russian airplanes have always been featured in this regard.
F-22 maneuverability is also really good. The F-35 is not bad, but the F-22 is, in fact, a great airplane. We still have a lot of them. But the Su-57 was not developed as a direct competitor of F-22 or F-35.
Brown: It looks like Russia is positioning them like that.
Kofman: Well, I'm sure somebody thinks their Honda Civic is better than BMW.
Here's what you need to understand: is there a market for fifth-generation airplanes? Where can I go to buy a fifth generation aircraft? The US is highly protected by F-35 technology. Only the Chinese are developing this.
So the real question is: is Su-57 better than J-20?
Brown: Is Su-57 Better Than J-20?
Kofman: Well, in terms of technology design, it's really far away - if not further.
The important thing is: the basis of each airplane is the engine - the engine is the most important. Everything else can be interesting, but the essence is the engine.
The production of the Su-57 is not serial because the engine is not yet complete. It runs with an improved Su-35S engine, so it can not be considered a fifth-generation aircraft, even according to Russian standards.
So, is it radar detectable by a Su-35 relative? Yes Is this radar hard to detect a F-35 relative? Hardly But you know, if it were, probably nobody would be able to afford to buy it, and at least Russia itself. Do not allow the "best" to become an "accessible" enemy.
Brown: How do you rate the J-20 F-22 or Su-57? What is his position?
Kofman: Suspicious, the J-20 probably has great avionics and software, but the design of the engine is, as always, terrific. In fact, such Chinese RSA aircraft as J-31 fly with older Russian Klimov engines, because they can not produce an engine. Other engines are Russian Saturn, or Chinese engines based on Western design.
This is, in my opinion, their situation. As for obscurity, I suspect he has a terrible problem.
Brown: But the Chinese have recently said that he is ready for the fight?
Kofman: Yes, but I appreciate such statements very skeptically.
In addition, their design is puzzling. You see how big it is? There are so many surfaces in it, and many of them look like radar reflections that are not bad enough. The aircraft's obscurity for radar is a source of uncertainty.
Brown: So, would you go to Su-57, not J-20?
Kofman: I chose any Russian design aircraft with a Russian engine instead of any Chinese-built airplane with an older Russian engine.
I did not get into any Chinese aircraft with Chinese engines.