Mightier Than F-16s & Challenger To Rafales, Chinese Military Expert Hails Pakistan’s Newly Inducted J-10C Fighters

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has formally inducted the first batch of six advanced J-10C fighter planes into service. Many experts have called the Chinese-origin J-10C as challengers to French-origin Rafale Fighters of the Indian Air Force.

The single-engine 4.5 generation combat aircraft landed in Pakistan from China on March 4. The jets were commissioned into the PAF’s No 15 ‘Cobras’ Squadron on March 11 during a ceremony at PAF base Minhas in Kamra.

The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as the chiefs of the air force, army, and navy at Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Base Minhas Kamra in Attock district of Punjab.

PM Khan congratulated the country on the historic introduction of modern aircraft and praised China for providing the planes in the shortest time possible.

“Unfortunately, efforts are being made to create an imbalance in the region and to address this, a big addition has been made today to our defense system,” he said, presumably referring to India’s procurement of Rafale fighter fighters from France.

Prime Minister Imran Khan inspected the modern fighter aircraft J10C after their formal induction into Pakistan Air Force at Kamra Base. – Twitter

Khan stated that any country would have to think twice before fostering any hostility towards Pakistan, claiming that the armed forces were well-equipped and prepared to counter any threat.

Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, confirmed the PAF would receive 25 J-10C fighters in late December. He defined the acquisition as a reaction to India’s purchase of Rafale fighter fighters. Rasheed had previously stated that the entire fleet of 25 J-10C jets would fly in a military parade on Pakistan Day, March 23.

The J-10C is the Pakistan Air Force’s first new aircraft since it began receiving the JF-17, which was also developed by China in collaboration with Pakistan. The J-10C is an export variant of the J-10 fighter, which is employed by China.

The latest induction, according to Pakistan Air Force Chief Zaheer Ahmed Babar, is a “significant development.” The PAF is inducting next-generation combat systems and state-of-the-art equipment for the first time in four decades, he said, noting the last time when F-16 fighters joined the PAF fleet in 1982.

J-10C ‘Vigorous Dragon’

The J-10, dubbed “Firebird” by NATO, is a light multirole fighter with a single-engine that can operate in all weather conditions. It was made to carry out strike and air-to-air combat operations for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

For greater maneuverability, the J-10 features a wide delta wing and two canards directly behind the cockpit. The weaponry is comparable to that of the MiG-29 and F-16, with three weapon pylons on each wing and three on the belly.

“JC-10 has fully integrated weapons, avionics, and EW suite that makes it a strong combat system,” Air Marshal Babar stated of the aircraft’s combat capabilities. 

The new fighter can be outfitted with a larger active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar as well as carry more modern fourth-generation air-to-air missiles like the PL-10 and PL-15 beyond-visual-range missiles.

J-10C – Twitter

The indigenously manufactured WS-10 Taihang engine powers the J-10C variant, as previously reported by the EurAsian Times.

The J-10C is driven by a Chinese-developed engine, which replaces the Russian AL-31 engine that was used in prior models. For long-range interception, it uses the PL-15, a dual-stage BVRAAM with a range of 200 kilometers or more.

The J-10C aircraft also participated in the Pak-China joint exercise in 2020. During the exercise, Pakistani experts got a close look at the fighter jets.

The combined drills in Pakistan began on December 7 and lasted roughly 20 days. China sent J-10C and J-11B fighter jets, as well as KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, while Pakistan sent JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets.

Furthermore, Pakistani aircraft are apparently outfitted with an infrared search-and-track (IRST) system on the nose. The heat signature of aircraft or missiles can be detected using IRST. Unlike radars, IRST does not reveal the host jet’s location, increasing its survivability.

The J-10C is the Pakistan Air Force’s first aircraft to be equipped with an IRST, giving Pakistan a technology that India has possessed for decades owing to its MiG-29, Su-30, and Rafale fighters.

This aircraft is frequently described as a counter to India’s Rafale by Pakistani experts. “The J-10C is also significantly more powerful than the old US-made F-16 fighter jet of the Pakistan Air Force and can rival the Rafale fighter jet that recently entered service with the Indian Air Force,” Shi Hong, Executive Chief Editor of the Chinese magazine, Shipborne Weapons, told the Global Times.

“Pakistan’s J-10C will not replace the JF-17, but form a combination, leading to higher combat capabilities.”