Chengdu J-10

Chengdu J-10

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The Chengdu J-10 (Jian-10; , the term of F-10 Vanguard being used for export purpose) is a multirole
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

 fighter aircraft
Fighter aircraft
A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for air-to-air combat with other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed primarily to attack ground targets...

 designed and produced by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) for the People's Liberation Army Air Force
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

 (PLAAF). Known in the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 as the "Vigorous Dragon", the J-10 is a multirole combat aircraft
Multirole combat aircraft
A multirole combat aircraft is an aircraft designed to act in at least two different roles in combat. The primary role is usually a fighter—hence, it is as often called a multirole fighter—while the secondary role is usually air-to-surface attack. More roles are added, such as air reconnaissance,...

 capable of all-weather operation.

Development


The program was initially authorized by Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

, who authorized spending ¥
Renminbi
The Renminbi is the official currency of the People's Republic of China . Renminbi is legal tender in mainland China, but not in Hong Kong or Macau. It is issued by the People's Bank of China, the monetary authority of the PRC...

 0.5 billion to develop an indigenous aircraft. Work on Project #10 started several years later in January 1988, as a response to the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker then being introduced by the USSR. Development was delegated to the 611th Institute, also known as the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute. Song Wencong
Song Wencong
Song Wencong is a Chinese aircraft designer, who is responsible for the development of the single seat version of the Chengdu J-10.-External links:...

 (宋文骢) was the chief designer, and had previously been the chief designer of the J-7III
Chengdu J-7
The Chengdu Jian-7 is a People's Republic of China-built version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. Though production ceased in 2008 it continues to serve, mostly as an interceptor, in several air forces, including China's.-Design and development:...

. Xue Chishou (薛炽寿) was the chief engineer. The deputy general designer was Su Longqing (苏隆清). The aircraft was initially designed as a specialized fighter, but later became a multirole aircraft capable of both air to air combat and ground attack missions.

The J-10 was officially unveiled by the Chinese government
Government of the People's Republic of China
All power within the government of the People's Republic of China is divided among three bodies: the People's Republic of China, State Council, and the People's Liberation Army . This article is concerned with the formal structure of the state, its departments and their responsibilities...

 in January 2007, when photographs were published by Xinhua News Agency
Xinhua News Agency
The Xinhua News Agency is the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China and the biggest center for collecting information and press conferences in the PRC. It is the largest news agency in the PRC, ahead of the China News Service...

. The aircraft's existence was known long before the announcement, although concrete details remained scarce due to secrecy. In the official announcement Xinhua News Agency and the PLA Daily
PLA Daily
PLA Daily is China-based media outlet for the People's Liberation Army of the People's Republic of China.It covers news stories relating to the PLA and other military affairs...

 denied rumours that one of the prototypes had crashed during testing, and listed this is one of the test pilots' accomplishments. Later reports confirmed the crash and the subsequent cover-up.

The first plane, "J-10 01", rolled out in November 1997. Its successful maiden was flown on 23 March 1998 by test pilot Lei Qiang (雷強) and lasted twenty minutes. Test pilot Li Zhonghua (李中华) flew aerodynamic performance trials that lasted until early December 2003; aerial refuelling tests were also completed during this time. During the trials the aircraft safely exceeded several design requirements. The last part of the test flight programme, the live firing of air-to-air missiles, was carried out by test pilot Xu Yongling (徐勇凌) from 21 December 2003 to 25 December 2003.

The aircraft were first delivered to the 13th Test Regiment on 23 February 2003. The aircraft was declared 'operational' in December of the same year, after 18 years in development. The first operational regiment was the 131st Regiment of the 44th Division. It is rumoured that a regiment of the 3rd Division also received J-10s.

Export


In late-February 2006, the then-President of Pakistan
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

, Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

, toured the J-10 and JF-17 production facilities, and had the opportunity to sit in the cockpits of both aircraft. The Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

 (PAF) was offered the J-10 during the visit, and the purchase of 36 J-10s was approved on 12 April 2006. The J-10s would be modified to Pakistani requirements, and be delivered to two PAF squadrons in 2014–2015 as the FC-20.

AVIC plans to aggressively market an upgraded J-10, most likely the J-10B, once development is complete. Several countries besides Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 have shown interest.

Foreign participation





The J-10 bears resemblance to two prior fighters, the Chengdu J-9
Chengdu J-9
|...

 and the Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i IAI Lavi
IAI Lavi
The IAI Lavi was a combat aircraft developed in Israel in the 1980s. It was a multi-billion dollar fighter aircraft project that was disbanded when the Israeli government concluded it could not finance production on its own, could not achieve a consensus on the Lavi's cost-effectiveness and...

, both of which were cancelled. The Lavi had a similar canard-configuration
Canard (aeronautics)
In aeronautics, canard is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the forward surface is smaller than the rearward, the former being known as the "canard", while the latter is the main wing...

 to the J-10, while the J-9 preceded the Lavi. Per the official Chinese position, General designer Song Wencong
Song Wencong
Song Wencong is a Chinese aircraft designer, who is responsible for the development of the single seat version of the Chengdu J-10.-External links:...

 (宋文骢) denied the J-10 was a copy of the Lavi, and claimed the indigenous J-9 was inspiration for the J-10's external design and aerodynamic configuration

Other sources pointed to stronger foreign assistance than claimed by the Chinese. Official US investigations discovered that some of the Lavi's technology had been sold to China by the Israelis, despite Israeli claims to the contrary. Russian engineers, designers and technical specialists who claimed to have worked in Chinese defence projects, including those at Chengdu, also believed the J-10 had ties to the Lavi. One source alleged that high-level Chinese officials had claimed to have a Lavi prototype at one of Chengdu's facilities. Another claimed that two years after the J-10's maiden flight, the Chinese used Russian wind tunnels to test J-10 aerodynamic models.

In 2006, the Russian Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute (SibNIA) confirmed its participation in the J-10 program; SibNIA claimed to have only observed and instructed as "scientific guides", while its engineers also believed the J-10 was not only based on the Lavi, but also incorporated significant foreign technology and expertise.

Delsen Testing Laboratories in Glendale, California also tested composite materials related to the J-10 in 1990.

The J-10 is powered by the Russian AL-31 engine.

Design



J-10 was designed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), a subordinate research institute of Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC). Some of the designers and their roles are identified as follows; Xue Chishou (薛炽寿, chief engineer, also deputy general manager of CAIC), Zhou Ziquan (周自全, chief test engineer, also deputy director of CADI). In a rather unusual agreement, the single seat version of the J-10 and the twin seat version of J-10 were designed by two different general designers; Song Wencong for the single seat version and Yang Wei (杨伟)
Yang Wei (aircraft designer)
-Education:Yang was the youngest general designer China ever had, completing his undergraduate education by the age of 19, and graduate education by the age of 22 from the Northwestern Industrial University...

 for the twin seat version, also the general designer of the JF-17 light-weight fighter. Sang Jianhua (桑建华) of CADI was responsible for airframe design features that reduce radar signature.

Some US military analysts believed that J-10 could pose a serious challenge to F/A-18E in terms of maneuverabiliy.

Airframe and cockpit


Constructed from metal alloys and composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s for high strength and low weight, the airframe
Airframe
The airframe of an aircraft is its mechanical structure. It is typically considered to include fuselage, wings and undercarriage and exclude the propulsion system...

's aerodynamic layout adopts a "tail-less canard delta" wing configuration
Wing configuration
Fixed-wing aircraft, popularly called aeroplanes, airplanes or just planes may be built with many wing configurations.This page provides a breakdown of types, allowing a full description of any aircraft's wing configuration...

. A large delta wing
Delta wing
The delta wing is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. It is named for its similarity in shape to the Greek uppercase letter delta .-Delta-shaped stabilizers:...

 is mid-mounted towards the rear of the fuselage
Fuselage
The fuselage is an aircraft's main body section that holds crew and passengers or cargo. In single-engine aircraft it will usually contain an engine, although in some amphibious aircraft the single engine is mounted on a pylon attached to the fuselage which in turn is used as a floating hull...

, while a pair of canards (or foreplanes)
Canard (aeronautics)
In aeronautics, canard is an airframe configuration of fixed-wing aircraft in which the forward surface is smaller than the rearward, the former being known as the "canard", while the latter is the main wing...

 are mounted higher up and towards the front of the fuselage, behind and below the cockpit. This configuration provides very high agility, especially at high speed. A large vertical tail is present on top of the fuselage and small ventral fins underneath the fuselage provide further stability.

A rectangular air intake is located underneath the fuselage, providing the air supply to the engine. Also under the fuselage and wings are 11 hardpoint
Hardpoint
A hardpoint, or weapon station, is any part of an airframe designed to carry an external load. This includes a point on the wing or fuselage of military aircraft where external ordnance, countermeasures, gun pods, targeting pods or drop tanks can be mounted.-Rail launchers:Large missiles and...

s, used for carrying various types of weaponry and drop-tanks containing extra fuel.

The retractable undercarriage
Undercarriage
The undercarriage or landing gear in aviation, is the structure that supports an aircraft on the ground and allows it to taxi, takeoff and land...

 comprises a steerable pair of nose-wheels underneath the air intake and two main gear wheels towards the rear of the fuselage.

The cockpit is covered by a two-piece bubble canopy
Bubble canopy
A bubble canopy is a canopy made like a soap bubble, which attempts to provide 360° vision to the pilot.-History:Bubble canopies have been in use since World War II. The British had already developed the "Malcolm hood", which was a bulged canopy, but the British Miles M.20 was one of the first...

 providing 360 degrees of visual coverage for the pilot. The canopy lifts upwards to permit cockpit entry and exit. The Controls take the form of a conventional centre stick
Centre stick
A centre stick , or simply control stick is an aircraft cockpit arrangement where the control column is located conventionally in the centre of the cockpit between the pilot's legs...

 and a throttle stick located to the left of the pilot. These also incorporate "hands on throttle and stick" (HOTAS
HOTAS
HOTAS, an abbreviation for Hands On Throttle-And-Stick, is the name given to the concept of placing buttons and switches on the throttle stick and flight control stick in an aircraft's cockpit, allowing the pilot to access vital cockpit functions and fly the aircraft without having to remove his...

) controls. A zero-zero ejection seat is provided for the pilot, permitting safe ejection in an emergency even at zero altitude and zero speed.

Flight control system


Due to the J-10's aerodynamically unstable design, a digital quadruplex-redundant fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire
Fly-by-wire is a system that replaces the conventional manual flight controls of an aircraft with an electronic interface. The movements of flight controls are converted to electronic signals transmitted by wires , and flight control computers determine how to move the actuators at each control...

 flight control system aids the pilot in flying the aircraft. Chinese aircraft designer Yang Wei
Yang Wei (aircraft designer)
-Education:Yang was the youngest general designer China ever had, completing his undergraduate education by the age of 19, and graduate education by the age of 22 from the Northwestern Industrial University...

 is claimed to be the chief designer of the fly-by-wire flight control system, although this is disputed by analyst Richard Fisher who credits Israeli consultants for developing the system. The flight control computer provides automatic flight coordination and keeps the aircraft from entering potentially dangerous situations such as unintentional slops or skids. This therefore frees the pilot to concentrate on his intended tasks during combat.

Flight instrumentation


Information is provided visually to the pilot via three liquid crystal
Liquid crystal display
A liquid crystal display is a flat panel display, electronic visual display, or video display that uses the light modulating properties of liquid crystals . LCs do not emit light directly....

 (LCD) Multi-function display
Multi-function display
A Multi-function display is a small screen in an aircraft surrounded by multiple buttons that can be used to display information to the pilot in numerous configurable ways. Often an MFD will be used in concert with a Primary Flight Display. MFDs are part of the digital era of modern planes or...

s (MFD) in the cockpit. Chief designer of the flight instrumentation panel was Zhou Han (周寒, unrelated to the chief test engineer), who was in charge of both the CRT
Cathode ray tube
The cathode ray tube is a vacuum tube containing an electron gun and a fluorescent screen used to view images. It has a means to accelerate and deflect the electron beam onto the fluorescent screen to create the images. The image may represent electrical waveforms , pictures , radar targets and...

 display design at the early stages of development and the later LCD design that is currently adopted by J-10 in service.

The LCD display panel entered service shortly after 2000. The LCD displays and earlier CRT displays for J-10 (and that of WZ-10, J-11
Shenyang J-11
The Shenyang J-11 with NATO reporting name: Flanker B+ is a single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighter produced by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation...

 and JH-7
Xian JH-7
The Xian JH-7 ; NATO reporting name Flounder), also known as the FBC-1 Flying Leopard, is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber in service with the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force , and the People's Liberation Army Air Force...

) are manufactured by the Suzhou
Suzhou
Suzhou , previously transliterated as Su-chou, Suchow, and Soochow, is a major city located in the southeast of Jiangsu Province in Eastern China, located adjacent to Shanghai Municipality. The city is situated on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and on the shores of Taihu Lake and is a part...

 Long Wind Machinery Plant (苏州长风机械总厂), later reorganized as AVIC
Aviation Industry Corporation of China
Aviation Industry Corporation of China is a Chinese state-owned company of aviation industry, both military and civilian...

 Radar and Avionics Equipment Research Institute (中航雷达与电子设备研究院).

In addition to the flight instrumentation, a Chinese holographic head-up display
Head-Up Display
A head-up display or heads-up display is any transparent display that presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoints...

 (HUD) is also present. The HUD shows important flight and combat related information such as targeting cues. It can also be used as a radar scope, a feature believed to be inspired by the HUDs of Russian aircraft, that allows the pilot to keep his eyes focused at infinity while working with his radar. Monochrome
Monochrome
Monochrome describes paintings, drawings, design, or photographs in one color or shades of one color. A monochromatic object or image has colors in shades of limited colors or hues. Images using only shades of grey are called grayscale or black-and-white...

 images from electro-optical avionics pods (FLIR and targeting pods) can also be displayed on the HUD. The HUD was designed to overcome issues with the HUDs of Russian fighters, which experienced significant fogging problems when deployed in humid and tropical zones of China, as they were originally designed for deployment in arid Arctic/sub-Arctic zones. The modular design of the HUD system and use of the MIL-STD-1553B databus architecture allows HUDs of Western origin to be integrated if desired by the user.

Electronic warfare


A comprehensive internal electronic counter-measures (ECM)
Electronic countermeasures
An electronic countermeasure is an electrical or electronic device designed to trick or deceive radar, sonar or other detection systems, like infrared or lasers. It may be used both offensively and defensively to deny targeting information to an enemy...

 suite is likely to be present, which can be supplemented by active jammer
Radar jamming and deception
Radar jamming and deception is the intentional emission of radio frequency signals to interfere with the operation of a radar by saturating its receiver with noise or false information...

 pods such as the BM/KG300G
BM/KG300G
The BM/KG300G self protection jamming pod is an airborne ECM pod that was first revealed to the public at 1998 Zhuhai Air Show, China, and it is designed by Southwest Institute of Electronic Equipment at Chengdu....

 carried externally on the aircraft's hardpoints. Additionally, the KZ900
KZ900
The KZ900 reconnaissance pod is an airborne SIGINT pod, used by the Chinese Military, that was first revealed to the public at 1998 Zhuhai Air Show, and it is designed by Southwestern Institute of Electrical and Electronics at Chengdu....

 signals intelligence (SIGINT) pod can be carried for reconnaissance missions.

Infra-Red Search and Track


A Chinese infra-red search and track (IRST) system developed by the Sichuan Changhong Electric Appliance Corporation
Changhong
Sichuan Changhong Electric Co. is a consumer electronics company based in Mianyang, China and founded on 1958. It is the second largest manufacturer of televisions in China. In 2004, 90% of the television sets exported from China to the United States were made by Changhong.In 2010, they made a...

, the Type Hongguang-I (Rainbow Light-I) Electro-Optical Radar (虹光-Ⅰ型光电雷达), is integrated with the J-10. It is a third generation optronics system utilising a HgCdTe focal array with imaging infra-red (ImIR) capability. Receiving its certification on 3 March 2005 and subsequently entering service with the PLAAF, the system was revealed to the public one year later at a conference on the Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

 province of China, during which the system was demonstrated to visiting officials. Based on the limited information released, Type Hongguang-I has a maximum range of 75 km.

Although the Type Hongguang-I was designed to be lighter and more compact than similar Russian systems so that it could be fitted in the nose of J-10 while leaving enough space for a suitable radar, the current production model J-10 does not have enough space and must carry a podded version externally on one of the aircraft's hardpoint
Hardpoint
A hardpoint, or weapon station, is any part of an airframe designed to carry an external load. This includes a point on the wing or fuselage of military aircraft where external ordnance, countermeasures, gun pods, targeting pods or drop tanks can be mounted.-Rail launchers:Large missiles and...

s. However, recently released images show a modified variant of the J-10 with what is believed to be an IRST device fitted to the upper starboard side of the nose (see Variants). Type Hongguang-I is also designed to be compatible with China's Shenyang J-11
Shenyang J-11
The Shenyang J-11 with NATO reporting name: Flanker B+ is a single-seat, twin-engine jet fighter based on the Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighter produced by the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation...

, Shenyang J-8
Shenyang J-8
The Shenyang J-8 is a high-speed, high-altitude Chinese-built single-seat interceptor fighter aircraft.-J-8:...

 and Xian JH-7
Xian JH-7
The Xian JH-7 ; NATO reporting name Flounder), also known as the FBC-1 Flying Leopard, is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine fighter-bomber in service with the People's Liberation Army Naval Air Force , and the People's Liberation Army Air Force...

 combat aircraft, as well as the Xian H-6
Xian H-6
The Xian H-6 is a license-built version of the Soviet Tupolev Tu-16 twin-engine jet bomber, built for the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force....

 bomber and Sino-Pakistani JF-17 light-weight fighter.

Radar and targeting


On June 14, it was announced by Chinese state media that a version of J-10 has been equipped with a phased array radar.

According to Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation officials the J-10 uses a multi-mode fire-control radar designed in China. The radar has a mechanically scanned planar array
Planar array
In telecommunications and radar, a planar array is an antenna in which all of the elements, both active and parasitic, are in one plane. A planar array provides a large aperture and may be used for directional beam control by varying the relative phase of each element...

 antenna and is capable of tracking 10 targets. Of the 10 targets tracked, 2 can be engaged simultaneously with semi-active radar homing
Semi-active radar homing
Semi-active radar homing, or SARH, is a common type of missile guidance system, perhaps the most common type for longer-range air-to-air and surface-to-air missile systems. The name refers to the fact that the missile itself is only a passive detector of a radar signal – provided by an external ...

 missiles or 4 can be engaged with active radar homing
Active radar homing
Active radar homing is a missile guidance method in which a guided missile contains a radar transceiver and the electronics necessary for it to find and track its target autonomously...

 missiles.

The radar is believed to be designed by the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology (NRIET), designated KLJ-10 and a smaller variant is claimed to be installed on the JF-17 light-weight fighter. Believed to be based on technologies from Russia, Israel or a combination of both, the radar should be comparable to Western fighter radar designs of the 1990s. It may also be replaced by more advanced radars of other origin on export versions of the J-10. The Italian FIAR (now SELEX Galileo
SELEX Galileo
SELEX Galileo is a major defence electronics company that specialises in surveillance, protection, tracking, targeting, navigation and control, and imaging systems. It is owned by the Italian company Finmeccanica....

) Grifo 2000/16, has been offered to the Pakistan Air Force
Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

 for installation on the J-10, should the PAF induct the aircraft.

In Chinese military technology related exhibitions, various helmet-mounted display (HMD) systems developed by Chinese organisations have been shown. It is believed that the J-10 is integrated with such a system to assist the pilot in targeting enemy aircraft. The J-10 has also been featured in photos and models carrying the FILAT (Forward-looking Infra-red Laser Attack Targeting)
FILAT
FILAT pod is an airborne attack pod designed to provide aircraft with all weather / night attack capabilities...

 pod for laser designation
Laser designator
A laser designator is a laser light source which is used to designate a target. Laser designators provide targeting for laser guided bombs, missiles, or precision artillery munitions, such as the Paveway series of bombs, Lockheed-Martin's Hellfire, or the Copperhead round, respectively.When a...

 of targets and the Blue Sky
Blue Sky navigation pod
The Blue Sky navigation pod is an airborne navigation / targeting pod designed to provide aircraft with all weather / night attack capabilities. It was first revealed to the public at 1998 Zhuhai Air Show, and it is designed by CLETRI, or more commonly known as the 607th Institute...

 navigation / forward looking infra-red (FLIR) pod for low visibility, low altitude flights.

Propulsion



The J-10 is powered by a single Russian Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FN turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

 engine giving a maximum static power output of 11,700 kgf
Kilogram-force
A kilogram-force , or kilopond , is a gravitational metric unit of force. It is equal to the magnitude of the force exerted by one kilogram of mass in a gravitational field...

. The most significant difference between the AL-31FN and the AL-31F is the arrangement of certain parts and mechanisms due to spacial limitations of the engine bay in the J-10. The AL-31F is designed for a twin engine aircraft such as the Su-27. For the J-10's AL-31FN variant, protruding parts of the engine such as the gearbox and pump are mounted opposite to that of AL-31F.

The AL-31FN was initially expected to be replaced by a domestic powerplant developed and manufactured in China, the WS-10A (WoShan-10A) Taihang turbofan
Turbofan
The turbofan is a type of airbreathing jet engine that is widely used for aircraft propulsion. A turbofan combines two types of engines, the turbo portion which is a conventional gas turbine engine, and the fan, a propeller-like ducted fan...

, giving a thrust of 129 kN (13,200 kgf or 29,101 lbf); however, the PLAAF
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

 delayed integration of the WS-10 onto the aircraft given development difficulties with the engine.

Russia has offered to provide China with a version of the AL-31FN that provides 12,500 kgf thrust and a 2,000-hour service life.

Weaponry and external loads


The aircraft's internal armament consists of a 23 mm twin-barrel
Gast gun
The Gast Gun was a German twin barreled machine gun developed by Karl Gast of Vorwerk und Companie of Barmen, and used during the First World War...

 cannon
Autocannon
An autocannon or automatic cannon is a rapid-fire projectile weapon firing a shell as opposed to the bullet fired by a machine gun. Autocannons often have a larger caliber than a machine gun . Usually, autocannons are smaller than a field gun or other artillery, and are mechanically loaded for a...

, located underneath the port side of the intake. Other weaponry and equipment is mounted externally on 11 hardpoint
Hardpoint
A hardpoint, or weapon station, is any part of an airframe designed to carry an external load. This includes a point on the wing or fuselage of military aircraft where external ordnance, countermeasures, gun pods, targeting pods or drop tanks can be mounted.-Rail launchers:Large missiles and...

s, to which 6,000 kg (13,228 lb) of weaponry such as missiles and bombs, drop-tanks containing fuel and other equipment such as avionics pods can be attached.

Air-to-air missiles deployed may include short range air-to-air missile
Air-to-air missile
An air-to-air missile is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft. AAMs are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fuelled but sometimes liquid fuelled...

s such as the PL-8
PL-8 missile
The PL-8 is a Chinese air-to-air missile originated from the Israeli Python-3 AAM, . Experience gained from PL-8/Python-3 had helped China greatly in developing its next missile, the PL-9....

 and PL-9, medium-range radar-guided air-to-air missiles such as the PL-11 and PL-12, unguided and precision guided munitions such as laser-guided bombs, anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missile
Anti-ship missiles are guided missiles that are designed for use against ships and large boats. Most anti-ship missiles are of the sea-skimming type, many use a combination of inertial guidance and radar homing...

s such as the YJ-9K and anti-radiation missiles such as the PJ-9.

Variants

  • J-10A: Single seat multi-role variant. The export designation is F-10A.

  • J-10S: Twin-seat fighter-trainer variant of the J-10A. The forward fuselage of the aircraft is stretched to accommodate an additional pilot seat, two pilots sit in tandem with a single large bubble canopy. Also incorporates an enlarged dorsal spine which may accommodate additional avionics equipment or fuel. As well as serving as training aircraft, the J-10S may also be used for the ground attack role where the rear seat pilot would act as the weapon systems operator.

  • J-10AH: Naval version of the J-10A.

  • J-10B: An upgraded variant of the J-10, also known as the "Super-10." The existence of the J-10B is not confirmed by official Chinese sources, but numerous images of a new J-10 variant have surfaced, showing a prototype J-10 modified with increased RAM, MAW, a diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI)
    Diverterless supersonic inlet
    A diverterless supersonic inlet is a type of jet engine air intake used by some modern combat aircraft to control air flow into their engines. It consists of a "bump" and a forward-swept inlet cowl, which work together to divert boundary layer airflow away from the aircraft's engine while...

    , an infra-red search and track (IRST)
    Infra-red search and track
    An infra-red search and track system is a method for detecting and tracking objects which give off infra-red radiation such as jet aircraft and helicopters. IRST is a generalized case of Forward Looking Infra-Red , i.e. from Forward-Looking to allround situational awareness...

     sensor, modified vertical stabiliser, ventral fins, housings fitted under the wings, and a modified nose. It had its first flight in December 2008.

  • FC-20: An export variant of the J-10 designed for the Pakistan Air Force
    Pakistan Air Force
    The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

    . First flight stated to take place in 2009.

Operators


  • People's Liberation Army Air Force
    People's Liberation Army Air Force
    The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

    : 190 .

  • Pakistan Air Force
    Pakistan Air Force
    The Pakistan Air Force is the leading air arm of the Pakistan Armed Forces and is primarily tasked with the aerial defence of Pakistan with a secondary role of providing air support to the Pakistan Army and the Pakistan Navy. The PAF also has a tertiary role of providing strategic air transport...

    : 36 on order for delivery in 2012, with an eventual requirement for 150.

Notable accidents


There have been four known crashes of the J-10 to date. The first crash was of a prototype combat aircraft during testing in 1998 with the most likely cause cited as failure of the fly-by-wire flight control system.

In 2007, a second crash occurred near Guilin
Guilin
Guilin is a prefecture-level city in the northeast of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of far southern China, sitting on the west bank of the Li River. Its name means "forest of Sweet Osmanthus", owing to the large number of fragrant Sweet Osmanthus trees located in the city...

 involving a J-10 of the PLAAF
People's Liberation Army Air Force
The People's Liberation Army Air Force is the aviation branch of the People's Liberation Army, the military of the People's Republic of China...

's 2nd Division.

A third crash occurred in August 2009 when pilot Meng Fansheng was forced to eject from his aircraft when the aircraft suffered an abrupt loss of engine power. An official investigation by the PLAAF also echoed that the crash was the result of the failure of the AL-31F engine on the aircraft.

A fourth crash involving an active duty aircraft occurred on April 22, 2010, killing the commander of the 9th Division. An attempted government cover up failed when the pilot's funeral gained prominence. Official reports blamed pilot error.

On 7 March 2009, an active duty aircraft piloted by Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 Li Feng suffered a total avionics
Avionics
Avionics are electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites and spacecraft.Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems and the hundreds of systems that are fitted to aircraft to meet individual roles...

 failure during a tactical training exercise. Li Feng landed the aircraft safely and blamed the failure to smoke in the cockpit; the smoke was presumably generated by the engine and leaked in from the environmental control system.

Specifications (J-10A)



See also



External links



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