Chinese J-10C Scores 9-0 Victory Over Eurofighter Typhoon As Its PR Machinery ‘Hot Sells’ 4.5-Gen Jets

China’s indigenous J-10 CE has evoked interest from potential buyers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. China’s publicity machine has been churning out stories about J-10 CE besting prominent Western fighter jets like the Eurofighter Typhoon in wargames.

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The Chengdu J-10 Vigorous Dragon is a medium-weight, single-engine, multi-role combat aircraft developed by China. At the beginning of 2024, Chinese military bloggers celebrated an unverified claim that the J-10CE prevailed over the Eurofighter Typhoons in all nine drills involving the two jets.

The report purported to be from the Pakistan-Qatar air drills named Zilzal-II air exercise. The newly inducted J-10CE jets of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) threw the gauntlet at the Eurofighter Typhoons of the Qatar Air Force in the first-ever face-off.

The exercise took place on January 10, 2024, and Chinese social media users saw the exercise as a test for the Chinese 4.5-generation fighter against a European jet of the same generation.

China’s military influencers and bloggers celebrated the “unverified” reports of the drubbing that J-10CE, the export variant of the J-10C, handed out to the Typhoons when they went up against each other nine times.

Military enthusiasts on Douyin, the Chinese social media platform from which Tiktok was developed, called it the ZilZal-II drills as the showdown between the two fighter jet types. According to the claims, the J-10CE won in four air combat exercises beyond visual range and another five dogfights.

“If this claim can be confirmed, it shows that China’s previous-generation fighter jets are being continuously improved and have achieved similar, or even superior, ability compared with European fighters,” Liu Xiaofei, a military influencer with 7.4 million followers, had said in a video on Douyin.

J-10CE’s Charm Offensive

The claims are significant as the aircraft is at the forefront of China’s efforts to promote military exports. Countries in the Middle East are also looking at the Vigorous Dragon as a cheaper alternative to Western weapons.

The J-10C debuted in the Middle East with an appearance at the Dubai Air Show in November 2023. The PLAAF J-10C fighter jets participated in the 18th edition of the Dubai Air Show, which was hosted in the UAE. It was the first visit of the acrobatic team to Dubai since it switched from flying the J-10A to the new J-10C.

At the time, the J-10C team performed four flight performances and showcased three different programs consisting of at least 20 maneuvers. The performance at Riyadh painted the sky in the colors of Saudi Arabia’s national flag.

J-10 Fighter
Bayi Aerobatic Team of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force present an air show during the second edition of the World Defense Show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

In January 2024, a video published by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) late last month showed a very rare refueling of seven J-10C Fighter jets by a single YY-20 refueling aircraft in a stunning display of PLAAF’s might. The J-10C aircraft were on their way to participate in the World Defense Show in Saudi Arabia.

China’s air force and military delegation attended the opening ceremony of the Second World military Show on February 4 in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

On February 5, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force performed an aerial display during the World Defense Show in Riyadh. According to Senior Colonel Xie Peng, a spokesperson of the PLA Air Force, this is the team’s tenth overseas flight, exhibiting the allure of China’s “Honor Guard in the Blue Sky.”

The Chinese-made J-10 fighter aircraft soared into the sky at Saudi Arabia’s annual arms exhibition, demonstrating the growing defense ties between the Asian power and the world’s fifth-biggest weapons spender.

File Image: Chinese J-10C for Pakistan Air Force

The Capability Of J-10C

The J-10C is in service with the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF), Pakistan Air Force (PAF), and the People’s Liberation Army Naval Air Force (PLANAF).

Pakistan officially inducted the J-10C into its air force in 2022. It serves as a medium-weight fighter alongside the China-Pakistan jointly developed lightweight fighter jet, the JF-17. They are inducted into the Number 15 Squadron ‘Cobras’ of the PAF and are based at Minhas Air Base.

The J-10C is an upgraded version of the J-10B. It features an indigenous AESA radar, imaging infrared seeker (IIR) PL-10, WS-10B engine, and PL-15 air-to-air missiles.

The J-10 C is often compared to upgraded variants of the American F-16 Fighting Falcon. Like the F-16, the J-10 boasts a highly agile, aerodynamically unstable airframe stabilized by a computer in its fly-by-wire flight control system.

Its capabilities include beyond-visual-range engagement, precision air-to-ground strike, digital glass cockpit instruments, in-flight refueling, and electronic warfare.

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J-10 Exports

Pakistan was the first buyer of the J-10s, which were considered to be more advanced than the JF-17s. In January 2024, Pakistan deployed J-10s to escort JF-17C and Wing Loong II drones for a series of air and artillery strikes inside Iran.

There were also reports that Saudi Arabia was mulling acquiring J-10C fighter jets. Egypt has also shown interest in acquiring Vigorous Dragons.

In 2019. China Military Online carried an article expecting orders for one or two dozen each from Laos and Bangladesh. Bangladesh Air Force operates a dozen Chinese J-7 fighters, Russian MiG-29s, and Su-30 Flankers.

In 2018, a Bangladesh Air Force delegation was in China to inspect the J-10. The article on the Chinese website contended that Bangladesh needed J-10s to counter India’s Rafale. Interestingly, Bangladesh was also exploring Eurofighter Typhoons and was not keen on Dassault Rafales, as India was already operating them.

  • Ritu Sharma has been a journalist for over a decade, writing on defense, foreign affairs, and nuclear technology.
  • The author can be reached at ritu.sharma (at)
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