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Going nose to nose with the dragon: How Taiwanese Mirage 2000-5s will compare with the Chinese J-10s

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posted on Dec, 8 2005 @ 10:00 AM
Aircraft performance
At combat weight (estimated as full internal fuel, no external fuel and full basic air-air missile fit), the Mirage benefits from a significantly better thrust to weight ratio, translating into greater acceleration, maximum speeds and rate of climb. This is in spite of the Mirage having a two missile advantage (6 AAMs as opposed to 4 in typical configuration). The obvious observation is that despite its impressively powerful AL-31 engine (27,557lb thrust with afterburner), the J-10 is on the heavy side. In fact, its thrust to weight ratio is poorer than the FC-1 (JF-17) and way behind other 4-5th generation fighters.

Where the J-10 can probably outperform the Mirage is in low speed maneuvering. The Mirage’s basic delta wing, with only partial canards (more properly called “compound delta” in this non-moving configuration), is likely to have significantly higher stalling speeds than the J-10’s canard design. Both aircraft are fully fly-by-wire with +9g airframe stressing. If, as reports often suggest, future J-10 models are equipped with thrust vectoring, the agility gap will undoubtedly widen.

Beyond visual range combat
The Mirage 2000-5 is routinely equipped with four MICA-EM missiles mounted under the fuselage, whereas the J-10 is likely to be carrying 2 SD-10 (PL-12?) missiles (although it can carry more, doing so limits the external fuel load which it is likely to rely on for CAP over the Taiwanese straight and even more so operations over Taiwan. This makes the 2xBVR missile fit most likely in any meetings of the two types).

Both the MICA and the SD-10 are advanced active-homing BVR missiles. The MICA is relatively small and short ranged (est 110km head-head against a non-maneuvering target), but the SD-10 is decidedly heavy and even shorter ranged (est 80km engagement head-head against non-maneuvering targets). These engagement ranges are likely to come down in realistic conditions, but the MICA is noted for its agility and lethality. On paper, both missiles have a 15km seeker lock-on range.

In terms of radar performance, the Mirage is likely to have the edge with its Thales RDY doppler radar, providing multi-targeting capability and look down/shoot down mode of operation. The radar can simultaneously detect up to 24 targets and carry out track while scan on the eight highest priority threats.

Of the several possible radars to equip the J-10, the most likely is the indigenous KLJ-3 pulse-Doppler radar developed by Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology. This is reportedly based on early variants of the US’s AN/APG-66/68 and is reported to have a maximum detecting range of 100~130km (attacking range 80~90km), and be capable of engaging two targets simultaneously. Other possible radar fits include various Russian units (notably the Zhuk-10PD and Zhemchug systems) and the Isreali Elta EL/M-2035.

The bottom line is that the Mirage is likely to detect the J-10 from further away, probably about 140km compared to 100~130km for the KLJ-3, conveying a significant advantage. The Mirage can also engage up to 4 targets simultaneously compared to the J-10’s 2; The Mirage can simultaneously detect 24 airborne targets, irrespective of their altitude, track the eight most threatening and auto-prioritize four of them. This may not be significant in many situations but is useful as a gauge for general sophistication. Although detailed public information on the technical aspects of these radars is limited, the RDC is understood to have far greater target clarity, discretion and ECM resistance.

It’s difficult to say with any certainty which missile is better; the MICA or the SD-10, but I’d put my money on the former.

Note: Reports that the J-10 will carry AA-12 Adder BVR missiles are unsubstantiated and discarded as an unlikely scenario in this analysis

Within visual range combat
The Mirage routinely carries 2 Magic2 all-aspect short ranged AAMs whilst we can expect the J-10 to be carrying 2 PL-8s. Neither missile is particularly cutting edge although it should be noted that the Mirage’s MICA-EM missiles can also be employed close-in, down to 3kms.

The Magic2 has a maximum engagement range of about 13km compared to the PL-8s 15km. However we must not forget that the Mirage’s MICA are also formidable at comparatively short ranges and against maneuvering targets.

Both pilots are assisted by helmet mounted sights although the PL-8 is likely to have superior high-off-boresight capability (going by its Python3 heritage).

Adding to this the J-10s superior low speed maneuverability, the J-10 is likely to have a significant edge in a dogfight, but in many circumstances where the Mirage can bring its MICA-EM missiles into the equation, the scales would slide back to the Mirage.

Overall the Mirage’s BVR capabilities give it a significant edge over the J-10 but close in, the J-10’s maneuverability, PL-8 missiles give it the edge, provided it can keep the Mirage within 3kms, beyond which the Mirage’s MICA-EM comes back into play.

In a likely scenario, regardless of outside factors such as CCC, the Mirage is likely to have the edge.

Note, all analysis and graphical representations are original

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 06:06 AM
Good Analysis

Your claims about numbers and details are consistent with most other sources

I agree with your comments and observations 100%

I'd like to add that the manuverability of both aircrafts is expected to increase as further blocks roll out ... the J-10's by using Russian TVC Al-31's instead of the present older Al-31 variant.....and the Mirages through planned FCS improvements.

I wouldn't be surprised if the RCS of the Mirage is lower than that of the J-10 .

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 07:29 AM
This study should be renamed:

“The Chinese F-16 Variant vs. the European F-16 variant”

Calm down...Tis a half joke.

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:17 AM
hmm.. joke it better be.
Calling the Mirage 2000-5 a european F-16 variant is ...well..

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 11:31 AM
Good analysis planeman, I agree too. At one time I thought the manouverability of the J-10 would be that good with such a small wing, but now I know better after looking into the design more and I too think that it would have an edge close in over the Mirage, but not otherwise

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 07:32 PM

Im just wondering where did you det those figures from?. I am interested in the range of the MICA. because i know for sure that taiwan doesn't use those ones if thats what your trying to compare

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:03 PM
The Matra BAe Dynamics Mica is an innovative lightweight missile that can both intercept incoming missiles and fire at multiple targets. The Mica is an advanced medium-range missile that is the French counterpart to the more capable American AMRAAM missile. Variants include active radar and infra-red homing, providing a unique ability to select target-engagement options for both short and medium-range intercepts. The 4A active anti-air seeker was developed by Dassault Electronique within the framework of a European cooperation, both for the Mica air-to-air missile and, in a slightly different version, for Eurosam's Aster surface-to-air missile.

Guidance Command, inertial and Active radar or imaging IR
Propellant Solid propellant
Fuze Active Radar
Range 50 km / 28 miles
Speed Mach 4
Length 10 ft
Weight 243 lbs
Warhead 12 kg HE blast fragmentation

In the end, MICA is no where near the range of R-77 and SD-10. Mica is rather short ranged and DEFINITELY not 130 Km ranged.

J-10 is now under construction with WS-10A thrust vectored aviation engines. WS-10A has 30000 pounds of thrust and is essentially a AL-31FN with a third stage and some western core technology.

I am not familiar with the Magic 2 SRAAM but here is stat:
Magic R.550
The largest single competitor for Sidewinder in Western Europe, the Matra Magic R.550 has better design and performance requirements. It can be fired at any speed (no minimum), meaning that it is a prime candidate for the arming of attack helicopters. Magic is slightly larger in diameter than Sidewinder, but the launch installation components in the carrying aircraft were wisely made interchangeable. The tail fins of the R.550 are free to rotate around the rocket's nozzle, providing of spin-stabilization. The warhead weighs 12.5 kg, and can be delivered at ranges of more than 6.2 miles.

Major operational capabilities : All-directions missile
Builder : Matra
In-service in the French Air Force : 1988
Propellant Solid propellant
Propulsion time : 2.2 s
Range 8 miles
Speed Mach 2.7 / 500 m/s in addition to carrier’s speed
Length / Diameter : 2.75 m / 0.16 m
Weight 196 lbs / 89 kg
Warhead HE blast fragmentation
Payload : 12.5 kg (fragmentation)
Guidance all-aspect infrared
Fuze radio frequency (RF) proximity
Main user nations : Greece, Egypt, Spain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates
Possible carrying aircraft : All French Air Force and Navy fighters

The stat of R-73:

Missile Length: 2.90 m
Missile Diameter: 0.17 m
Wingspan: 0.51 m
Launch Weight: 105 kg (R-73M1), or 115 kg (R-73M2)
Warhead: 7.4 kg HE expanding rod warhead
Propulsion: One solid-propellant rocket motor
Off-Boresight Capability: +/-50 degree
Speed: Mach 2.5
G Limit: 40G
Range: 20 km (R-73M1), or 30 km (R-73M2)
Guidance: Helmet-sighted + All-aspect infrared homing

The difference between Magic 2 and the R-73 is that R-73 has off-boresight capability and can use the helmet mounted sights of the J-10 which puts J-10 vastly superior in WVR combat. Taiwan 2K5s do not have helmet mounted sights (I don't think any Mirage -2000s have HMS).

The greater range of a radar does not mean that in BVR it is superior to another radar. Radars' range should suit the weapons that they are using otherwise it can become dangerous among a multitude of situations. Considering that Mica's range is relatively short, a very long range radar is definitely not good for the fighter.

[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:24 PM
I share your skepticism at the stated missile ranges but I used figures widely quoted. I doubt that the MICA-EM can really engage normal targets at 110km, but I am equally skeptical about the SD-10’s claimed 80km range. With that particular performance statistic you have to look behind it, and consider that it relates to a ‘best case’ scenario –something which simply isn’t the case in a live situation.

However, I stand by the conclusion of my analysis on that point: the MICA-EM is probably distinctly better than the SD-10 and in typical scenarios, likely to have a greater engagement range.

And I was pretty sure that ROC employs the MICA-EM on its Mirage 2000-5 fighters. If not, can you tell me what they are under this one:" target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:29 PM
COWlan, thanks for quoting half the internet, lol.

Re the TVC, any proof? and any proof that the J-10 is DEPLOYED with AA-11?

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:42 PM
Quoting Sinodefence:


The fixed weapon on the J-10 is a 23mm 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.

Yes, J-10 can not only use the AA-11 but also the AA-12 in addition to PL-8, PL-11 and PL-12/SD-10 for air to air combat.

There is also a new generation SRAAM in development with PLAAF, supposedly completely outperforms the current PL-8, PL-9 and AA-11 that China is equipped with. That will equip the J-10 in 3 to 4 years.

The capabilities of SD-10 is unknown, as with all PLA/AF/N equipments however it is generally thought to be in the same range of capabilities as the R-77 and AIM-120. I highly doubt the initial SD-10 will be as good as the AIM-120C but SD-10 does combine a multitude of Russian, Indigenous and Western technologies into one platform.

China used to have a engine called WS-10 in developement however its performance reaked and was cancelled. Later WS-10A (which has nothing to do with WS-10) was put into developement and is a copy of the AL-31FN with thrust vectoring (China already bought thrust vectored AL-31FN in 2005 to refit our SU-27s bought in the 1990s) with a third stage and CMF-56 engine core technology. China right now is 15 years behind USA in aviation engine technology because the equivilant of the WS-10A is the F-110 GE-129 and it has been in production since 1992.

P.S I like quoting because alot of people like actual facts stated by trusted sites.
[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 08:58 PM
The Mica's range is officially "more than 60km", some sources state 80.

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:00 PM

I dont like to make comparisions on data which is not 100% correct or proved. Anyway nice thread

And I was pretty sure that ROC employs the MICA-EM on its Mirage 2000-5 fighters. If not, can you tell me what they are under this one:" target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

Im not talking if taiwan employs the missile or not but if it has this missile with that range.

The MICA-EM is the standard missile for the Mirage 2000-5

[edit on 9-12-2005 by chinawhite]

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:05 PM

Leave this topic alone. we will just end up waking you know who.

I always throught that the MICAs range was 50km. and the Meteor had the 100km+ range. Planeman are you confusing the MICA with the meteor?

posted on Dec, 9 2005 @ 09:14 PM
MBDA stated 60 Km, Globalsecurity states 50. We could debate on whether the 50 or the 60 or an imaginary number is the real range of MICA in reality but same can be applied to the SD-10, what if PLAAF is fooling us again like all the other different projects?

R-27's later versions have ranges of 120 Km which actually outranges its more advanced brother R-77.

alright, no more posting. Don't want another flamewar, got tired of that. No more posting from me from now......

[edit on 9-12-2005 by COWlan]

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 02:44 AM
Planeman where are you getting these articles from.? I have now seen serval different articles with the same layout but different planes.

EDIT:Maybe you are the ones posting these on other forums?

[edit on 10-12-2005 by chinawhite]

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 05:26 AM

Originally posted by planemanRe the TVC, any proof?

The October 2005 issue of Janes reads :

"First batch of AL-31FN engines delivered to China
Nikolai Novichkov JDW Correspondent

The first batch of Russian AL-31FN vectored-thrust engines has been delivered to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force for its J-10 fighter aircraft, an industry source has told JDW.

The second batch of engines will be delivered before the end of 2005 while the entire contract for the supply of 100 AL-31FN engines is due to be fulfilled in the third quarter of 2006."

This US Government Research Paper (dated 2004) also saw it coming...

The J-10 has succeeded due to PLA access to Israeli/U.S. and Russian technology. While stemming from the Chengdu J-9 canard fighter program, starting in the early 1990s the J-10 was greatly influenced by Israeli Aircraft Industry’s LAVI (Young Lion) fighter,[42] which in turn benefited enormously from U.S. technology and U.S. taxpayer funding for 40 to 90 percent of its $1.5 billion development cost.[43] The Grumman Corporation was the main subcontractor for the wing and tail and the engine was a U.S.-built Pratt-Whitney PW 1120.[44] The LAVI exhibits broad similarities, including size, to the General Dynamics, now Lockheed-Martin F-16. The PLA is reported to have obtained a F-16A from Pakistan in the early 1990s to assist its fighter programs.[45] A Russian source who visited Chengdu in the early 1990s attested to evidence of Israeli assistance in the J-10 assembly area.[46] One list of possible Israeli systems reported to have been sold to the PLA to support the J-10 include:

Elta EL/M-2035 Multi-Mode Pulse Doppler Radar (or EL/M-2032 derivative)
Elta/Elisra EW System (possible)
Lear Siegler/MBT Flight Control System: (unknown)
Elta ARC-740 UHF radio system: (unknown)
IAI Tamam INS (Inertial navigation system): (transferred)
Elbit SMS-86 Stores Management System: (unknown)[47]

Sale of the EL/M-2035 radar has been oft reported as has been probable Israeli assistance with the J-10’s fly-by-wire system. Both systems would have constituted clear advances for the PLA. The EL/M-2035, though developed in the mid to late 1980s, was a remarkably modern multi-mode, anti-air and ground-attack, radar for its time. Digital fly-by-wire technology was also sought after by the PLA to support the development of 4th generation fighters. In the early 1990s the Chengdu CW-1 and the Shenyang J-8IIACT were produced to test experimental fly-by-wire systems. U.S.-origin technology in the J-10 may include avionics, advanced composite materials and flight control specification.[48] Fly-by-wire technology may have been shared as well. Composite technology developed by Grumman for the Lavi’s wing[49] might have been another technology of interest to the PLA.

From Russia Chengdu received additional design assistance and access to a Aluyka-Saturn turbofan with a repositioned gearbox, designated AL-31FN. There were reports in 2001 that the PLA ordered 300 AL-3IFNs for the J-10. ...Nevertheless, Saturn is marketing an uprated version of the AL-31 with a thrust-vectoring nozzle, which is also directed at the J-10.

This one reads "The initial delivery of Al-31FN engines to China took place in 2001-2002 and numbered some 54 non-thrust-vectoring engines. China's CEC is also believed to have successfully negotiated with Russia license production of Al-31 engines. Later models of the J-10 are likely to use the thrust-vectoring version of the Al-31FN. "

[edit on 10-12-2005 by Stealth Spy]

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 06:08 AM
Right, firstly re the J-10’s engine. I too read Janes among my many sources. BUT, we have yet to see even a prototype of the J-10 with TVC. TVC isn’t the sort of thing you can implement over night, it takes years of testing to get it operational. So, whilst I’ve alluded to the J-10’s claimed TVC, the analysis is on the basis that it doesn’t.

Re weapons. J-10s are consistently seen carrying SD-10 and PL-8 AAMs not AA-11 and AA-12. What is more the fuselage hardpoints are rarely seen being used, instead SD-10s are carried under the wings. I’ve tried to analyze on the basias of likely fits, not the imaginary world of what they could carry – the Mirage can carry Skyflash –should I have factored that in even though we know the Taiwanese won’t employ it????

Re MICA ranges. The diagram shows quoted ranges. I did not realize that people interpret those figures in absolute terms. Hopefully I’m teaching grannies to suck eggs here: There is a difference between the range that the missile travels and the engagement range -.i.e. the range that the target is away when it is fired. In general, missiles have a greater engagement range when the target is flying straight at you at very high speed. They have the shortest engagement range when the plane is traveling away from you at high speed. The MICA-EM quoted range is probably the head-head engagement range against a Mach 2+ target. The SD-10 range is equally dubious IMO.

And I write the articles and commission the illustrations. I use the basic article format.

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 06:19 AM

Originally posted by planeman
The SD-10 range is equally dubious IMO.

The range of SD-10 has been stated by the SD-10 designer. 70km from a chase position/or flying away position. i dont remmeber the exact specs but it was definatly not head to head

at 6,000metres altitude

And I write the articles and commission the illustrations. I use the basic article format.

You must post these in defence talk to. I have seen the same article layout

And one more somewhere else

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 08:18 AM
chinawhite, please refrain form providing links to other forums .... its a serious violation of ATS T&C .... i suggest you edit your post before some mod warns you ... i speak from experience..

posted on Dec, 10 2005 @ 12:04 PM
Re the SD-10 range. The engagement range from a chase position varies with altitude differences, speed of launch platform, speed of target, target’s RCS and any electronic warfare factors. The manufacturer is likely to quote the best of intended figures. I.e. is he talking about an SD-10 launched from a fighter traveling at Mach 2, intercepting a slow moving target at much lower altitude (gravity assists flying distances… ) etc. trust me, when I made my analysis I tried to look behind the figures to guess what the actualities are likely to be –that’s what makes it analysis.

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