Andreas Rupprecht, Mainz and Juan Ju, Bonn – Jane’s Defence Weekly
05 March 2020
China has begun fitting locally made Shenyang-Liming WS10 ‘Taihang’-series engines into its J-10 multirole fighter aircraft, images released on 2 March by state-owned broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) suggest.
The images show an apparently newly built Chengdu Aircraft Industries Company (CAIC) J-10C fighter aircraft in People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) markings fitted with what appears to a WS10B engine, rather than the Russian-made Saturn AL-31FN turbofan that normally powers these aircraft. All main-production J-10s built by 2018, about 300 aircraft, appear to be powered by the AL-31FN.
It is unclear when or where the CCTV images were taken but the pictured aircraft, which appears to be almost ready for delivery, seems to be part of the fourth production batch of J-10Cs for the PLAAF.
Meanwhile, an image allegedly taken in mid-December 2019 but only posted recently on Chinese online forums suggests that the fifth batch of J-10C fighters is currently undergoing testing. The blurry photograph shows a J-10C painted in yellow primer and bearing what appears to be serial number 502 during a test flight at CAIC’s production facility in Chengdu Huangtianba.
Source: Jane’s Defence Weekly “Images suggest China has begun fitting indigenous WS10 engine into J-10C fighters”
Note: This is Jane’s Defence Weekly’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Chinese air force publishes in its Weibo a promotional footage 1:11 minute long to mark its 70th anniversary with images of new types of warplanes including J-20, Y-20, J-10C, J-16, H-6K, KJ-500, etc. The above photos are taken from the footage
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Air Force issues salute-double 11 (November 11) footage with images of new types of warplanes such as J-20 and H-6N” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report, full text of which including the footage can be viewed at https://mil.huanqiu.com/article/7RvDl2DxKqk).
According to a report by Hong Kong’s Singtao Daily on April 17, Chinese air force’s new J-10Cs have begun to be assigned combat duties, which has further perfected Chinese air force’s combat capabilities of attack and defense. J-10C is an improved version of J-10 with more advanced navigation electronic system and various types of advanced weapons able to hit air, surface and ground targets at medium and short range.
Source: Singtao Daily “J-10C fighter jets assigned combat tasks” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
Taiwan’s CNA reports on November 15 that a new improved version of China’s J-10 fighter jet J-10C has recently emerged on Mainland web. There is rumor on the Internet that tests have begun in the test and training base of PLA air force and the new fighter jet will soon be delivered to PLA by batches.
According to the report, J-10C is better than J-10B in shape to reduce drag. Moreover, Hong Kong military analyst Leung Kwok-leung says that J-10C has stealth capabilities entirely different from existing stealth warplanes.
The report says that as J-10C allows radar wave to penetrate into its fuselage to be absorbed and weakened inside so that the radar wave will not bound back to the radar. J-10C is thus invisible to radar. That is a brand new stealth technology entirely different from existing one. Mainland China is the first to apply it.
Compared with F-22, J-10C is also a stealth fighter jet and has very good maneuverability not to lose to F-22 in dogfight.
J-10C makes F-22 unable to penetrate China’s air defense.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “Taiwan media: J-10C will be delivered to PLA by batches, It does not lose to F-22 in dogfight” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
In its Situation Report, Foreign Policy says that it was surprised by China’s announcement yesterday that its aircraft carrier is ready for combat. So was Washington Post in its report yesterday.
In fact, China has not directly made such an announcement. Foreign Policy says China has made such an announcement based on the report on Global Times’ interview with the carrier’s political commissar Li Dongyou, who said in the interview that the ship is “constantly prepared to fight against enemies.”
The US must be surprised because China previously described the Liaoning carrier as a platform for testing and training. US military experts predicted lots of China’s problems in producing carrier-based fighter jets, training pilots for the jets, etc. Even the arrest cable for landing of the fighter jets may be a serious headache.
That is why both Foreign Policy and Washington Post regard Li’s words as surprise announcement in their reports.
Surprise is natural as the US always underestimates China’s ability. However both media are wrong in predicting that the carrier will be used “to reinforce” (Washington Post’s wording) or in “underscoreing” (Foreign Policy’s wording) China’s claims in the South China Sea challenged by U.S. Navy and others.
The Liaoning deploys only 24 J-15s that will not be fully armed due to sky-jump takeoff. The three airports on China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea may accommodate at least 12 dozens of J-20 heavy stealth fighter jets there with much greater fire power. Moreover, China will soon deploy its J-10C stealth fighter jets with entirely new stealth technology completely different from US one.
J-10C instead of J-15 will be able to win dogfight against US F-22 due to its super maneuverability.
Dogfight capability is not necessary for a stealth fighter jet in dealing with a non-stealth one, but is indispensable for a stealth fighter jet in fighting another stealth fighter jet. As F-35 is not designed for fighting a stealth fighter and is a lighter warplane unable to carry better radar, it is utterly no rival to China’s J-20 and J-10C. Only F-22 may be able to contend with J-20 and J-10C, but without ground support near China, it has great disadvantage.
Since China has built three large unsinkable fixed aircraft carriers on its artificial islands in the South China Sea, it needs no aircraft carriers there, especially the Liaoning that is much inferior to US ones.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Foreign Policy and Washington Post’s reports, full text of which can be viewed respectively at https://mail.google.com/mail/#inbox/1586822dc8796243 and https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/china-says-aircraft-carrier-now-ready-for-combat/2016/11/15/748addc8-aaf4-11e6-8f19-21a1c65d2043_story.html
Russian Military Observation website carried an article on June 29 titled “J-10C, headache of Western aircraft companies” stating that after integrated fire control system in its active phased array radar, China’s J-10A/B has already some of the characteristics of the next generation of fighter jets. That is followed by China’s project of great improvement in its upgraded version of J-10, i.e. J-10C. which the Russian media regards as a 4++generation fighter get .
Some Chinese blogs believe that three J-10Cs can be rival to one F-22 in combat while for J-10, the ratio shall be 50 to 1.
In a combat with F-22, J-10C can find F-22, a target of 0.07 square meters RCS, 100 km away while F-22A can find a J-10C with 1 square meter RCS 200-220 km away. It may fire its two AIM-120D medium-range air-to-air missiles 150-180 km away from the J-10C. If the missiles have been set at low interception (LPI) mode, the J-10C cannot detect the missiles until it has been locked on by the active radar in the missile’s warhead. J-10C pilot simply has no time to scan the airspace and is forced to take anti-missile action.
If the F-22 pilot fails to close in to reduce the distance between the two to less than 100 km, there is 50% chance the F-22 may be shot down by J-10C’s PL-21 beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile.
However if the F-22 closes in, its two powerful engines will give it much better maneuverability to ensure that there is no escape for the J-10C.
J-10C pilot may use the targeting device in his helmet to fire an infrared guided PL-9C short-range missile, which may hit the F-22A. However F-22A will soon be equipped with a helmet that may be equipped with a device to detect the infrared guided missile warhead.
US carrier-based fourth-generation fighter jets in service are inferior to J-10C in speed, acceleration capability and maneuverability. Even F-35A/B that the US will deploy on its aircraft carriers in the future is but comparable to J-10C in speed, acceleration and maneuverability. As J-10Cs have a combat radius of 1,000 km, it will be able to resist any attack from US carrier-based fighter jets.
China’s deployment of J-10Cs will greatly ease the pressure from US aircraft carriers.
Note: According to the analysis, if a group of three J-10Cs encounters a F-22, two of them will probably be destroyed by AIM-120D medium-range air-to-air missiles that the F-22 fires 150-180 km away from the J-10Cs, but the F-22 will soon come within the 150 km range of the PL-21 of the third J-10C. As PL-21 uses a scramjet engine to reach the speed of Mach 4.5, it is difficult for the F-22 to escape. Therefore, the above analysis proves that there is ground for the assessment of three J-10Cs rival to one F-22.
Source: mil.sohu.com “Russian media says that J-10C is as good as F35 in combat capabilities and not at a disadvantage in fighting F22” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)
The above is the photo of a new version of J-10 recently emerged on the Internet. It is suspected as a J-10B or J-10C
In addition, the above photo of suspected J-10B (also regarded as J-10C) has emerged on the internet, on which we can see the mark of Chinese air force. As it bears the no. of 201 instead of the no. 1xx that mass-produced J-10Bs usually bear, some people believe that it may a J-10C, the newest version of J-10.
There are also the following photos of suspected J-10C and test flight of suspected J-10C on the Internet.
Note: The various versions of J-10 is China’s third-generation fighter jets regarded as able to deal with US F-16.
Source: mil.huanqiu.com “This version of J-10B with air force coating looks different” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)