|J-10C - chinamil.com|
China Officially Promotes J-10C for Export:
The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) began promoting the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) J-10C for export. Designated as the FC-20E, AVIC put a model of the fighter on display at its pavilion at the 2019 Dubai Air Show, which was held from 17-21 November 2019.
The J-10 is one of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) mainstay multi-role fighters, serving as a light-to-medium weight complement to its large and varied Flanker fleet.
The J-10C is the latest production variant of the J-10, following the J-10B, which introduced multiple key improvements, such as a diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI) and electronically scanning radar.
In April 2018, China’s Ministry of Defence announced that the PLAAF’s J-10Cs began taking on operational duties, indicating that the aircraft’s production and induction are both in full swing.
Marquee features of the J-10C reportedly include an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with 1,200 transmit/receive modules (TRM) with compatibility with long-range beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles (AAM). The J-10C was also reportedly photographed with the WS-10 turbofan engine, with at least one unit boasting a thrust-vector control (TVC)-equipped system.
Until recently, AVIC had been promoting the J-10A-based FC-20 for export, but with the FC-20E, it is clear that China’s aerospace giant is looking to market a solution that better matches its competitors’ offerings.
With the FC-20E, AVIC is taking direct aim at markets the Russians and Americans are looking to access with the MiG-35 and F-16 Block-70/72, respectively. These markets are generally looking for modern, but cost-effective multi-role fighters with contemporary sub-systems, such as AESA radars.
However, in most cases, AVIC’s main competition will be Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which is marketing the MiG-35 as a lower-cost alternative to Western fighters, especially in Africa.
According to an apparent promotional flyer of the FC-20E (previously termed as the J-10CE), the fighter’s specifications are as follows:
Length: 16.9 m
Wingspan: 9.7 m
Height: 5.7 m
Max Mach Number: 1.8
A/A Combat Radius 1,240 km/2,600 km (Air-to-Air Refueling)
Max. Ferry Range: 2,950 km
Notes & Comments:
Under its original plan for 2015, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) had intended to procure 36 FC-20 (i.e., J-10A) to carry its “deep strike” objectives. However, a shortage of funding and, apparently, greater confidence in the JF-17 program (or the J-10A not offering enough benefits for the added cost) shelved those plans.
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