Pakistan Air Force buys a full squadron of 25 Chengdu J-10C fighter jets from China in response to India’s purchase of Rafale aircraft.
Speaking to the media, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said that a full squadron of 25 all-weather aircraft comprising J-10C will attend the Pakistan Day ceremony on March 23 this year.
In September 2016, India and France signed a contract for the delivery of 36 Rafale fighters worth about $8.8 billion. The aircraft is manufactured by Dassault Aviation. All the fighters are due to arrive by the end of 2022.
The J-10C entered service in 2018, and as the F-16 it is a single-engine lightweight fighter. Having been designed several decades after the F-16, the J-10 is a much more advanced design boasting advantages in almost all parameters, including a higher speed, lower radar cross-section and much greater manoeuvrability.
The J-10C is the latest and most capable J-10 variant, and uses thrust-vectoring engines for enhanced manoeuvrability – something no Western fighter other than the F-22 does.
It benefits from stealth coatings for improved survivability. The aircraft uses a modern AESA radar paired with some of the world’s most capable air to air missiles, the PL-15 and PL-10, the former which is one of just two in the world confirmed to use an AESA radar for guidance. These missiles will also be deployed by upcoming improved variants of the JF-17.
The J-10C would provide Pakistan with by far the most capable combat jet in its fleet, and benefits from a much lower operational cost and lower maintenance needs than the ageing F-16A airframes.
Its access to YJ-91 cruise missiles provides much a much more dangerous air to ground capability than any Pakistani fighter.
With the J-10C having reportedly proven capable of outperforming heavyweight Russian jets from the Flanker family, due largely to its more advanced radar and missiles, the Chinese-built fighter would provide an effective means of countering India’s most dangerous fighter class the Su-30MKI.