posted on Jan, 4 2005 @ 04:19 AM
J-10 Multirole Fighter Aircraft
The Chengdu Jian-10 (J-10) is the single-engine multirole fighter aircraft developed by 611 Aircraft Design Institute and built by Chengdu Aircraft
Industry Corporation (CAC) for the PLA Air Force (PLAAF). The single-seat fighter variant J-10 first flew in 1996 and is expected to enter operational
service by 2005. The two-seat fighter-trainer variant J-10B first flew in December 2003. Additionally, a twin-engine stealthy variant of the J-10 is
said to be under development.
The J-10 programme began in the early 1980s as a counter to the fourth-generation Soviet fighters such as the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker. The
initial design of the J-10 was partially based on the cancelled J-9 fighter, a hybrid of the MiG-23-Flagger-style fuselage with Saab
JAS-37-Viggen-style delta wings and front canards. Although the J-9 programme was cancelled due to technical difficulties and insufficient funds, the
611 Aircraft Design Institute continued its research on the front canard technology which was later applied on the J-10 fighter.
During its early years the J-10 programme also benefited from the IAI Lavi fighter technology. Collaboration between China and Israel on fighter
technology began in the early 1980's and full-scale co-operation was underway by 1984. After the 1987 cancellation of the Lavi programme, its design
was taken over by CAC, and IAI carried on with the development of avionic equipment.
The maiden flight of the J-10 took place in 1996, but the aircraft suffered serious engine problems as well as trouble with the fly-by-wire (FBW)
software, which resulted in the loss of the No.2 prototype aircraft and its pilot in 1997. The CAC engineers had to face some major re-design work and
the programme was seriously delayed. Later the revised FBW software was successfully tested on a Shenyang (SAC) J-8IIACT technical demonstration
aircraft, and the Russians also agreed to offer its Lyulka Saturn AL-31F turbofan engines for incorporation into the J-10.
The modified J-10 flew successfully in 1998. By 1999 a total of six prototypes had been built. Test flights were carried out from 1999 to 2003,
initially at the test site of CAC and later was moved to the China Flight Test Establishment (CFTE) based at Yanliang, Shaanxi Province.
Some J-10 fighters may have already been delivered to the PLAAF for further trial and evaluation. Unconfirmed report indicated that the aircraft will
enter operational service as early as 2005 to 2007. However, as people have learned from the experience of another home-developed project JH-7
fighter-bomber, this might be proven too optimistic. It is possible that initially only 30 to 50 aircraft will be delivered to the PLAAF so that the
aircraft can be fully tested. This will allow CAC engineers some extra time to solve problems emerged from the operational test evaluation (OT&E)
phase before the design is finalised. The full operational deployment of the aircraft might not happen before 2010.
The CAC is also reported to be developing a two-seater variant J-10, which could be ready for the flight test before 2006. A further developed variant
with twin-engines and stealthy features is also being studied.
The J-10 has a rectangle belly air intake, with low-mounted delta wings, a pair of front canard wings, a large vertical fin, and two underfuselage
fins. The design is aerodynamically unstable, to provide a high level of agility, low drag and enhanced lift. The pilot controls the aircraft through
a computerised digital fly-by-wire (FBW) system, which provides artificial stabilisation and gust elevation to give good control characteristics
throughout the flight envelope. It is also the first Chinese aircraft to be fitted with a large one-piece bubble canopy to give a better field of view
Despite its apparent resemblance to the IAI Lavi, the J-10 differs from the Lavi in the primary mission carried out by the aircraft. The Lavi was
originally designed as a short-range air support and interdiction aircraft, with a secondary mission of air superiority, while the PLAAF is interested
in replacing its large fleet of outdated J-6 and J-7 fighters, for which air superiority capability remains a top priority while the air-to-ground
attack capability is of secondary importance. In addition, the Lavi project had included many elements that Israel could not develop by itself, and
China cannot obtain these key technologies from the US.
The J-10 is regarded to be comparable to the F-16C/D in general performance, though it might have a better manoeuvrability compared to most latest
Western fighter aircraft such as F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon. Specific information of radar and electronic countermeasures (ECM)
suite is still unclear, but during the past decade China has been actively seeking latest avionics technology from countries like Russia and
The J-10's cockpit is fitted with three flat-panel liquid crystal multifunction displays (MFDs), including one colour MFD, wide field-of-view head-up
display (HUD), and possibly helmet-mounted sight (HMS). It is not know whether the HMS is the basic Ukrainian Arsenel HMS copied by China's Luoyang
Avionics, or a new helmet display featured briefly at the 2000 Zhuhai air show.
The pilot manipulates the J-10 by the 'Iron Bird' flight-control system, a quadruple (four channels) digital fly-by-wire (FBW) based on the active
control technology tested by the Shenyang J-8IIACT demonstrator aircraft. The pilot will also be aided by advanced autopilot and air data computer.
Several options are available for the J-10 fighter. These include the Russian Phazotron Zhuk-10PD, a version of the system in later Su-27s, with 160
km search range and ability to track up to six targets. Israel has offered its Elta EL/M-2035 radar for competition. In addition, China has also
developed its own JL-10A fire-control radar, which might be assisted by Russian technology.
For low-level navigation and precision strike, a forward-looking infrared and laser designation pod is likely to be carried F-16-style on an inlet
stores station. A Chinese designed pod similar to the Israeli Rafael Litening was revealed at the 1998 Zhuhai air show.
The single-seat, single-engine J-10 is similar in size to the Lockheed Martin F-16C/D. The initial batch J-10s are going to be powered by 27,500
lb-thrust (120 kN) Russian Lyulka-Saturn AL-31F turbofan, the same power plant also being used by Chinese air force Sukhoi Su-27s and Su-30s. Some
report indicated that 100 AL-31F engines with features specially designed for the J-10 have already been delivered to China in early 2001.
China is also developing its own WS-10 turbofan powerplant, and it could be fitted on the later versions of the J-10. An all-aspect vectored-thrust
version of the AL-31F was revealed for the first time at Zhuhai Air Show 1998, leading to speculation that this advanced engine may wind up on the
J-10, potentially conferring phenomenal manoeuvrability.
The fixed weapon on the J-10 is a 23 mm internal cannon. The aircraft also has 11 stores stations - six under the wing and five under the fuselage.
The inner wing and centre fuselage stations are plumped to carry external fuel tanks. Fixed weapon is a 23-mm inner cannon hidden inside fuselage.
In addition to the PL-8 short-range infrared-guided air-to-air missile reportedly derived from Israeli Rafael Python-3 technology, the J-10 could also
carry Russian Vympel R-73 (AA-11) short-range and R-77 (AA-12) medium-range missiles equipped by Chinese Flankers. It may also be fitted with
indigenously developed PL-11 or PL-12 medium-range AAM for BVR combat.
For ground attack missions, the J-10 will carry laser-guided bombs, YJ-8K anti-ship missile, as well as various unguided bombs and rockets. Some
missiles currently under development such as the YJ-9 ramjet-powered anti-radiation missile may also be carried by the J-10.
[edit on 4/1/05 by W4rl0rD]