Jet fighters are always my favorite but I am not the expert. Since the top 3 military powers are USA, Russia, and China both in quality and quantity, I think it is fair enough to compare the best jet fighter of each country that are F-22 Raptor (USA), Su-33 Flanker (Russia), and J-10 Dragon (China).
USA’s F-22 may be the best in the world. It is considered 5th generation fighter because of its stealth feature and advanced avionics, whereas Su-33 and J-10 belong to 4th generation. The stealth capability is due to the material used and unlike Su-33 or J-10, the missiles are stored in two internal bays. This reduces the radar reception significantly. Using the super cruise and stealth capabilities, together with the most advanced radar and missile system, F-22 posses a high chance to “fire and forget” both Flanker or Dragon using its AIM-120D AMRAAM. However, Flanker is believed to be highly maneuverable, which makes it very deadly during close combat. Su-33 can carry R-77 medium range missiles, which is comparable to AIM 120D. On the other hand, J-10 is comparable to the latest version of USA’s F-16 and most of the Flanker family (Su-27, Su-30). It is equipped with SD-10 BVRAAM, slightly inferior to AIM 120D, but comparable to AIM120C. See http://yalun.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/the-best-air-to-air-missile-from-the-usa-russia-and-china/ for the BVR missiles comparison.
The table below shows some comparison among these three jet fighters (source: Jane’s, Sinodefence, wikipedia)
|Number in service||122||25||150|
|Flight range (km)||3000||3000||3000|
|Powerplant, total max thrust (kN)||312||244||122|
|Cruising speed (mach)||1.8||0.9||0.9|
|Combat radius (km)||760||1800||1800|
|Service ceiling (km)||20||17||20|
|Empty weight (tonnes)||20||18||9|
|Loaded weight (tonnes)||29||30||18.5|
|BVR missile range (km)||95||175||80|
|Radar range (km)||240||110||110|
J-10 is not as maneuverable as both F-22 and Su-33. It only has one engine and no thrust vectoring. Although J-10 is the least advanced compared to Raptor and the latest version of Flankers, it serves as a stop gap for the 5th generation fighters (J-XX). Russia is also developing its 5th generation Sukhoi (Su-PAK FA), which is planned to be delivered in 2009. These show that the Chinese and Russians are catching up.
In addition, please check:
Top 10 fighter jets