Don't read this.
You won't like it.
If you do read this, know that you drove me to do this
There are two lightweight fighters currently undergoing flight test in Asia right now. We all know what their names are. What's the point? Both have been in development so long that any Western design will outclass them by the time they get into service. One of them doesn't even have it's vaunted indigenous engine yet. So which one is better? I think I found the answer:
Fact of the matter is, neither of them are all that fascinating, and both have had their aerodynamic egos blown up by a bunch of wannabee know-it-alls. One of the aircraft is produced by a country with a healthy aviation industry, one which has had to rely on indigenous products in the past, and may at some point in the future do so again. The other was produced, as best as I can determine, to show off. Which hasn't really worked out all that well since the aircraft uses an American engine currently... Really, there was no need for it. No political isolation driving the formation of a national aviation industry, no lack of prospective sellers for high-tech military equipment, nothing. Just a big sign erected that says "Hey, we can play too". Yes, admittedly, they can play. Well almost, they still have that engine thing to work out
Are either aircraft going to achieve large scale success on the export market? Let's examine. One aircraft has recently been declared available for export in the near future. The other was designed with the express purpose of exporting. The problem is that the first confirmed customer lacks a stable enough economic base to be purchasing the numbers required to make the project worthwhile. That means the home country will have to take some, taking money from the REAL 4th Generation fighter project they have ongoing. The fact remains, these things won't be available for large-scale exporting for another few years. Which, of course, means they will have aircraft such as the Gripen, Rafale, and EF-2000 to deal with en masse. Oh, and there really aren't all that many countries the US wouldn't sell a non-BVR surplus F-16 to, so that raises a very big question to a prospective customer-take a risk, or go with a proven winner? Time will tell.
Both aircraft are capable. They were designed to replace the same aircraft (although one is a Xerox copy), and offer much improved capabilities. The problem is that both countries making these aircraft have much better combat aircrat in their inventory. Conveniently, they are both based on the same airframe-the Su-30. One country is going to be selling to the rival of the other. The problem is, even without their own new aircraft, that other still has a military to demolish its rival. Even when the rival imports the new aircraft from the first country. Again, it's all about "We can play too". Or maybe, "We didn't have to shop for ours". Besides, both developers would be much better off buying more twin-stick FLANKERs than wasting any more money. One country could use the money saved by not developing their aircraft to take lessons on jet engine design from the other Or they could always address domestic issues, that's always a good idea in civilized nations. The other country could do something intelligent and instead of providing aircraft to the other developer's rival, they could pour money into an airdrop or amhpibious landing capability and concentrate on their own self-created problems.
Basically, both aircraft are capable. Both have good and bad points. Both countries have good and bad reasons for developing and fielding the aircraft. Both countries want to break into the export market. One of them wants to prove it can develop aircraft, since its rival obviously cannot. But the fact of the matter is that both aircraft are going to be obsolete in 10 years when the first JSFs become available. So why bother? One country bothers because it knows it can sell to at least one country, and hopes for more. The other bothers because at this point, they'd look bad if they gave up. Please, at least give up on the engine...
Anyway, translate that yourself and digest the information. Most of it is opinion, and I found it rather enjoyable to compose When you get irritated, becoming all "how could you write that?", know that I really don't care. Everyone else seems perfectly fine flaming people who disagree with them, so rather than decide and personally insult someone myself, I decided to flame a whole topic
Besides, I told you not to read it