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Chengdu J-10

Multi-role fighter

Chengdu J-10 fighter

The J-10 multi-role fighter approaches Western fighters in terms of performance and capabilities

Entered service 2004
Crew 1 men
Dimensions and weight
Length 15.5 m
Wing span 9.7 m
Height ?
Weight (empty) 8.3 t
Weight (maximum take off) 18 t
Engines and performance
Engines 1 x Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FN turbofan
Traction (dry / with afterburning) 1 x 79.43 / 122.58 kN
Maximum speed Mach 2.2
Service ceiling ?
Ferry range ?
Combat radius ?
Cannon 23-mm cannon
Missiles PL-12 and PL-8 air-to-air missiles
Bombs 500-kg laser-guided bombs, free-fall bombs
Other 90-mm unoperated rockets


   The J-10 multi-role fighter is the first Chinese-developed combat aircraft that approaches Western fighters in terms of performance and capabilities. It is known as Meng Long or Vigorous Dragon in China and as Firebird in the West.

   Development of the J-10 began in 1988. It was intended to counter threat posed by the Soviet forth-generation fighters - the MiG-29 and Su-27. The J-10 was initially planned as an air-superiority fighter, however collapse of the Soviet Union and changing requirements shifted the development towards a multi-role fighter. Aircraft made its maiden flight in 1998. The whole project was kept under high secrecy. It is worth mentioning, that the first photos of the J-10 came out only 3-4 years after the first flight. Some sources claim that it was influenced by the IAI Lavi. The J-10 multi-role fighter entered service with Chinese air force in 2004, however it was first publicly revealed only in 2006. Currently around 240 of these aircraft are in service. It is estimated that 300 fighter of this type will be required for Chinese air force and possibly naval aviation too. A number of countries, including Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and Thailand shown interest in purchasing this aircraft.

   The J-10 has a single engine. The first batch of about 50 aircraft is powered by Russian AL-31FN turbofan engines. This batch was delivered to Chinese air force between 2004 and 2006. An indigenous turbofan was under development.

   The J-10 has beyond visual range air combat and surface attack capabilities. Aircraft has 11 external hardpoints for a range of weapons. Alternatively it can carry target acquisition, navigation pods or auxiliary fuel tanks. It is worth mentioning that the J-10 has an in-flight refueling capability.

   The main armament on the air-superiority missions are the PL-12 medium-range active radar-homing air-to-air missiles. For close ranges it carries the PL-8 infrared-homing missiles. For surface attack role the J-10 carries up to six 500-kg laser-guided bombs, free-fall bombs or 90-mm unoperated rocket pods. Aircraft is also completed with a single-barrel 23-mm cannon.

   The J-10 is fitted with an indigenously designed pulse-doppler fire control radar. It is capable of tracking 10 targets simultaneously and attacking 4 of them. Estimated maximum detection range is 100 km. Aircraft is fitted with a fly-by-wire system.




   A two-seat variant, the J-10S fighter-trainer, is available. It is identical to the single-seat variant, but has a stretched fuselage to accommodate second pilot seat. The J-10S can be used for pilot training or as a standard fighter. This aircraft maid its maiden flight in 2003.

   J-10B multi-role fighter, with improved airframe and avionics. It is powered by Chinese WS-10 turbofan engine. It is worth noting that the first J-10 aircraft had Russian engines. It entered service with China's air force in 2014. At least 14 aircraft were delivered during the same year. The J-10B is likely to become a standard production model.


Chengdu J-10 fighter

Chengdu J-10 fighter

Chengdu J-10 fighter

Chengdu J-10S twin-seat fighter

Chengdu J-10 fighter

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