According to Chinese military experts, Russian fighter jets ” the 4th Generation ” are, overall, superior to US designs of the same generation due to key factor related, quite simply, to the nose size of such aircraft.
Chinese analysts point out that the nose of Russian 4th Generation fighters produced by Sukhoi and Mikoyan are notably larger than those of US and even Chinese-built 4th Generation fighters.
From this observation, Chinese experts claim that the larger nose on 4th Generation Russian fighter jets – whilst perhaps not quite as aesthetically refined as the nose of US equivalent designs – allows the aircraft to house a bigger radar (for better target detection) and additional electronic combat equipment, increasing it’s long-term operational shelf-life via the ability to continue upgrading.
The US developed its 4th Generation fighters hurriedly throughout the 1970s in a desperate dash to gain an immediate technological and aerodynamic edge over operational Soviet fighters of the time.
By comparison, the Soviet Union’s main fighter design companies, who also started developing their 4th Generation designs in the 1970s, took longer (almost a decade longer) before their aircraft were put into operational service, undergoing a more rigorous testing and refinement period during which time appearance was sacrificed in favor of greater internal equipment space and better aerodynamic structure.