Two J-10 fighters at the Zhuhai Airshow on Nov. 5, 2008. (Photo Xinhua)
Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group will produce a total of 1,200 J-10 fighters for the PLA Force to counter F-16 fighters over the Taiwan Strait and Western Pacific, according to our sister paper Want Daily.
The Moscow-based Voice of Russia says the J-10A uses the Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FN turbofan engine imported from Russia due to difficulties in the development of China's WS-10 Taihang engine. The newer J-10B variant will be fitted with the Taihang engine.
Geng Ruguang, senior vice president of China Aviation Industry Corporation, said the development of the J-10, Taihang engine and PL-12 air-to-air missile shows China has become the fourth nation in the world to design and produce its own advanced fighter.
Geng said the J-10B's active phased array airborne radar enables the fighter to track six targets and engage four of them simultaneously. Geng also said the J-10's radar system can also lock on to US F-16 and Japanese F-2 fighters without difficulty. Furthermore, the PL-12 air-to-air missile designed for the J-10 boasts similar specs to the US-built AIM-120 air-to-air missile used by the F-16A/B fighters of Taiwan's air force.
Taiwan currently has 388 fighters, of which 145 are F-16A/Bs purchased from the United States. The imbalance in the size of the size of the fighter fleets on opposing sides of the Taiwan Strait is a matter of serious concern for Taiwan's security.
Between 2014 and 2015, 36 J-10B fighters will also be supplied to the Pakistan Air Force under the name FC-20,