Pictures emerge of first J-10 fighters for Pakistan

Pakistan buy J10 China
A J-10 fighter for the Pakistan Air Force prepares to take off from the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) plant in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, for a functional check flight.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is preparing to take a big step forward in modernizing its fleet with the upcoming takeover of the first China-made J-10 fighters. As per recent images taken by some spotters, the first J-10s with PAF markings (serial numbers 22-102 and 22-106) are conducting functional check flights at the Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) plant in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China.

Looking at the rear, the fighters are equipped with the Chinese-made WS-10B Taihang engine instead of the Russian-made AL-31F mounted on the A and B variants. It means Pakistan will receive the latest version of the fighter, the J-10C (which might also be called J-10CE or FC-20E for export).

Along with a new engine, the J-10C boasts an indigenous Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) fire-control radar, imaging infrared seeker (IIR) PL-10 and new dual pulse rocket motor PL-15 air-to-air missile (AAM).

After several years of speculation, Pakistan's J-10 order was officially announced by Pakistan's Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad on December 29, 2021.

Although the number of aircraft purchased has not been disclosed, several Pakistani sources say the PAF will introduce 25 to 36 J-10s.

According to Ahmad, deliveries will begin in March 2022 on the occasion of the Pakistan Day celebrations to be held on March 23. The event will also include the fly-by of 25 PLAAF J-10 jets.

He also said this purchase is Pakistan's response to India's introduction of the Dassault Rafale.

The Chengdu J-10 is a 4.5 generation single-engine fighter jet, which first flew in 1998 and was introduced with PLAAF in 2005. It is the most common fighter jet in China's inventory, with over 460 in service to date.

Chengdu has been offering export versions of the J-10 since its introduction with poor sales results. Pakistan is the first foreign customer.

Written by Matteo Sanzani

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