First Images Of Pakistan's New Chinese J-10 Fighters Surface On Social Media
The unofficial images of the Chinese-made J-10 for the Pakistan Air Force were shared on Twitter by Andreas Rupprecht, an expert on Chinese military aviation.
First images of Pakistan's new Chinese J-10 fighter jets surfaced on social media on Tuesday (15 February).
The unofficial images of the Chinese-made J-10 for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) were shared on Twitter by Andreas Rupprecht, an expert on Chinese military aviation. The pictures show at least one J-10 carrying the markings of the PAF at an unknown Chinese airbase.
In the pictures, a J-10 jet with two-tone PAF camouflage can be seen at a place that looks like a test facility. Experts believe the pictures may have been taken at the facility of the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation in Chengdu in the southwestern province of Sichuan.
In at least one picture, a J-10 fighter jet carrying the marking of the PFA, including the flag of Pakistan, appears to be in the air.
The closeups posted on social media show the serial numbers 22-102 and 22-106, which suggests that at least two aircraft are under test.
Based on these pictures, Rupprecht has said that the Pakistani J-10s are powered by a Chinese-made WS-10B Taihang engine instead of the Russian AL-31F used in the J-10A and J-10B versions of the jet used by the People's Liberation Army Air Force of the Chinese Communist Party.
While reports about Pakistan's interest in the J-10 have been around for years, the 'official confirmation' of its purchase of the fighter came in December last year, when the country's Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, said that Pakistan was set to induct 'JS-10' fighters.
While the number of J-10 Pakistan is buying from China remains unknown, experts have put the figure between 25 and 36.
Experts have pointed out that Pakistan's purchase of J-10 fighters indicates its unease with India's acquisition of 36 Rafale fighters, which are far superior to anything the PFA has in its inventory. The Rafale's many advantages over the J-10 include "advanced avionics, electronic warfare systems, and a potentially wider range of weapons, among them ramjet-powered Meteor BVR missiles, as well as superior all-round performance."
PAF's ageing fleet of F-16 jets, acquired in several batches since the 1980s, has been facing issues related to maintenance and availability of spare parts, which have only been compounded due to the deterioration in the relationship between Pakistan and the United States. Without a regular supply of spares and proper support, PAF's F-16 may become inoperable. Further F-16 sales have become less likely as a result of the downturn in relations.
Historically, Pakistan has preferred Western aircraft, having bought multiple advanced fighters from the US and France since the 1960s.
However, over the last few years, as the ties between Islamabad and Beijing have strengthened, China has become the primary arms supplier to the country.
Compared to the JF-17, the Chinese fighter that now forms the backbone of the PAF, the J-10 is considerably more advanced. It has better aerodynamics and avionics and a larger payload.
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