- Chengdu J-10
J-10 Vigorous Dragon
J-10A seen at Zhuhai airshow. Role Multi-role combat aircraft National origin People's Republic of China Manufacturer Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation Designer Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute First flight 23 March 1998 Introduction 2005 Status In service Primary user People's Liberation Army Air Force, Pakistan Air Force Produced 2002–Present Number built 190 (As of February 2011[update]) Program cost 500 million RMB allocated in 1982 (Project #10) Unit cost 190 million RMB (27.84 million USD; 2010) Developed from Chengdu J-9
The Chengdu J-10 (Jian-10; simplified Chinese: 歼-十; traditional Chinese: 殲-十; pinyin: Jiān shí; literally "Annihilator-Ten", the term of F-10 Vanguard being used for export purpose) is a multirole fighter aircraft designed and produced by the People's Republic of China's Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAC) for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). Known in the West as the "Vigorous Dragon", the J-10 is a multirole combat aircraft capable of all-weather operation.
- 1 Development
- 2 Design
- 3 Variants
- 4 Operators
- 5 Notable accidents
- 6 Specifications (J-10A)
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The program was initially authorized by Deng Xiaoping, who authorized spending ¥ 0.5 billion to develop an indigenous aircraft. Work on Project #10 started several years later in January 1988, as a response to the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker then being introduced by the USSR. Development was delegated to the 611th Institute, also known as the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute. Song Wencong (宋文骢) was the chief designer, and had previously been the chief designer of the J-7III. Xue Chishou (薛炽寿) was the chief engineer. The deputy general designer was Su Longqing (苏隆清). The aircraft was initially designed as a specialized fighter, but later became a multirole aircraft capable of both air to air combat and ground attack missions.
The J-10 was officially unveiled by the Chinese government in January 2007, when photographs were published by Xinhua News Agency. The aircraft's existence was known long before the announcement, although concrete details remained scarce due to secrecy. In the official announcement Xinhua News Agency and the PLA Daily denied rumours that one of the prototypes had crashed during testing, and listed this is one of the test pilots' accomplishments. Later reports confirmed the crash and the subsequent cover-up.
The first plane, "J-10 01", rolled out in November 1997. Its successful maiden was flown on 23 March 1998 by test pilot Lei Qiang (雷強) and lasted twenty minutes. Test pilot Li Zhonghua (李中华) flew aerodynamic performance trials that lasted until early December 2003; aerial refuelling tests were also completed during this time. During the trials the aircraft safely exceeded several design requirements. The last part of the test flight programme, the live firing of air-to-air missiles, was carried out by test pilot Xu Yongling (徐勇凌) from 21 December 2003 to 25 December 2003.
The aircraft were first delivered to the 13th Test Regiment on 23 February 2003. The aircraft was declared 'operational' in December of the same year, after 18 years in development. The first operational regiment was the 131st Regiment of the 44th Division. It is rumoured that a regiment of the 3rd Division also received J-10s.
In late-February 2006, the then-President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, toured the J-10 and JF-17 production facilities, and had the opportunity to sit in the cockpits of both aircraft. The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was offered the J-10 during the visit, and the purchase of 36 J-10s was approved on 12 April 2006. The J-10s would be modified to Pakistani requirements, and be delivered to two PAF squadrons in 2014–2015 as the FC-20.
The J-10 bears resemblance to two prior fighters, the Chengdu J-9 and the Israeli IAI Lavi, both of which were cancelled. The Lavi had a similar canard-configuration to the J-10, while the J-9 preceded the Lavi. Per the official Chinese position, General designer Song Wencong (宋文骢) denied the J-10 was a copy of the Lavi, and claimed the indigenous J-9 was inspiration for the J-10's external design and aerodynamic configuration
Other sources pointed to stronger foreign assistance than claimed by the Chinese. Official US investigations discovered that some of the Lavi's technology had been sold to China by the Israelis, despite Israeli claims to the contrary. Russian engineers, designers and technical specialists who claimed to have worked in Chinese defence projects, including those at Chengdu, also believed the J-10 had ties to the Lavi. One source alleged that high-level Chinese officials had claimed to have a Lavi prototype at one of Chengdu's facilities. Another claimed that two years after the J-10's maiden flight, the Chinese used Russian wind tunnels to test J-10 aerodynamic models.
In 2006, the Russian Siberian Aeronautical Research Institute (SibNIA) confirmed its participation in the J-10 program; SibNIA claimed to have only observed and instructed as "scientific guides", while its engineers also believed the J-10 was not only based on the Lavi, but also incorporated significant foreign technology and expertise.
Delsen Testing Laboratories in Glendale, California also tested composite materials related to the J-10 in 1990.
The J-10 is powered by the Russian AL-31 engine.
J-10 was designed by the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute (CADI), a subordinate research institute of Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC). Some of the designers and their roles are identified as follows; Xue Chishou (薛炽寿, chief engineer, also deputy general manager of CAIC), Zhou Ziquan (周自全, chief test engineer, also deputy director of CADI). In a rather unusual agreement, the single seat version of the J-10 and the twin seat version of J-10 were designed by two different general designers; Song Wencong for the single seat version and Yang Wei (杨伟) for the twin seat version, also the general designer of the JF-17 light-weight fighter. Sang Jianhua (桑建华) of CADI was responsible for airframe design features that reduce radar signature.
Some US military analysts believed that J-10 could pose a serious challenge to F/A-18E in terms of maneuverabiliy.
Airframe and cockpit
Constructed from metal alloys and composite materials for high strength and low weight, the airframe's aerodynamic layout adopts a "tail-less canard delta" wing configuration. A large delta wing is mid-mounted towards the rear of the fuselage, while a pair of canards (or foreplanes) are mounted higher up and towards the front of the fuselage, behind and below the cockpit. This configuration provides very high agility, especially at high speed. A large vertical tail is present on top of the fuselage and small ventral fins underneath the fuselage provide further stability.
A rectangular air intake is located underneath the fuselage, providing the air supply to the engine. Also under the fuselage and wings are 11 hardpoints, used for carrying various types of weaponry and drop-tanks containing extra fuel.
The retractable undercarriage comprises a steerable pair of nose-wheels underneath the air intake and two main gear wheels towards the rear of the fuselage.
The cockpit is covered by a two-piece bubble canopy providing 360 degrees of visual coverage for the pilot. The canopy lifts upwards to permit cockpit entry and exit. The Controls take the form of a conventional centre stick and a throttle stick located to the left of the pilot. These also incorporate "hands on throttle and stick" (HOTAS) controls. A zero-zero ejection seat is provided for the pilot, permitting safe ejection in an emergency even at zero altitude and zero speed.
Flight control system
Due to the J-10's aerodynamically unstable design, a digital quadruplex-redundant fly-by-wire flight control system aids the pilot in flying the aircraft. Chinese aircraft designer Yang Wei is claimed to be the chief designer of the fly-by-wire flight control system, although this is disputed by analyst Richard Fisher who credits Israeli consultants for developing the system. The flight control computer provides automatic flight coordination and keeps the aircraft from entering potentially dangerous situations such as unintentional slops or skids. This therefore frees the pilot to concentrate on his intended tasks during combat.
Information is provided visually to the pilot via three liquid crystal (LCD) Multi-function displays (MFD) in the cockpit. Chief designer of the flight instrumentation panel was Zhou Han (周寒, unrelated to the chief test engineer), who was in charge of both the CRT display design at the early stages of development and the later LCD design that is currently adopted by J-10 in service.
The LCD display panel entered service shortly after 2000. The LCD displays and earlier CRT displays for J-10 (and that of WZ-10, J-11 and JH-7) are manufactured by the Suzhou Long Wind Machinery Plant (苏州长风机械总厂), later reorganized as AVIC Radar and Avionics Equipment Research Institute (中航雷达与电子设备研究院).
In addition to the flight instrumentation, a Chinese holographic head-up display (HUD) is also present. The HUD shows important flight and combat related information such as targeting cues. It can also be used as a radar scope, a feature believed to be inspired by the HUDs of Russian aircraft, that allows the pilot to keep his eyes focused at infinity while working with his radar. Monochrome images from electro-optical avionics pods (FLIR and targeting pods) can also be displayed on the HUD. The HUD was designed to overcome issues with the HUDs of Russian fighters, which experienced significant fogging problems when deployed in humid and tropical zones of China, as they were originally designed for deployment in arid Arctic/sub-Arctic zones. The modular design of the HUD system and use of the MIL-STD-1553B databus architecture allows HUDs of Western origin to be integrated if desired by the user.
A comprehensive internal electronic counter-measures (ECM) suite is likely to be present, which can be supplemented by active jammer pods such as the BM/KG300G carried externally on the aircraft's hardpoints. Additionally, the KZ900 signals intelligence (SIGINT) pod can be carried for reconnaissance missions.
Infra-Red Search and Track
A Chinese infra-red search and track (IRST) system developed by the Sichuan Changhong Electric Appliance Corporation, the Type Hongguang-I (Rainbow Light-I) Electro-Optical Radar (虹光-Ⅰ型光电雷达), is integrated with the J-10. It is a third generation optronics system utilising a HgCdTe focal array with imaging infra-red (ImIR) capability. Receiving its certification on 3 March 2005 and subsequently entering service with the PLAAF, the system was revealed to the public one year later at a conference on the Sichuan province of China, during which the system was demonstrated to visiting officials. Based on the limited information released, Type Hongguang-I has a maximum range of 75 km.
Although the Type Hongguang-I was designed to be lighter and more compact than similar Russian systems so that it could be fitted in the nose of J-10 while leaving enough space for a suitable radar, the current production model J-10 does not have enough space and must carry a podded version externally on one of the aircraft's hardpoints. However, recently released images show a modified variant of the J-10 with what is believed to be an IRST device fitted to the upper starboard side of the nose (see Variants). Type Hongguang-I is also designed to be compatible with China's Shenyang J-11, Shenyang J-8 and Xian JH-7 combat aircraft, as well as the Xian H-6 bomber and Sino-Pakistani JF-17 light-weight fighter.
Radar and targeting
On June 14, it was announced by Chinese state media that a version of J-10 has been equipped with a phased array radar.
According to Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation officials the J-10 uses a multi-mode fire-control radar designed in China. The radar has a mechanically scanned planar array antenna and is capable of tracking 10 targets. Of the 10 targets tracked, 2 can be engaged simultaneously with semi-active radar homing missiles or 4 can be engaged with active radar homing missiles.
The radar is believed to be designed by the Nanjing Research Institute of Electronic Technology (NRIET), designated KLJ-10 and a smaller variant is claimed to be installed on the JF-17 light-weight fighter. Believed to be based on technologies from Russia, Israel or a combination of both, the radar should be comparable to Western fighter radar designs of the 1990s. It may also be replaced by more advanced radars of other origin on export versions of the J-10. The Italian FIAR (now SELEX Galileo) Grifo 2000/16, has been offered to the Pakistan Air Force for installation on the J-10, should the PAF induct the aircraft.
In Chinese military technology related exhibitions, various helmet-mounted display (HMD) systems developed by Chinese organisations have been shown. It is believed that the J-10 is integrated with such a system to assist the pilot in targeting enemy aircraft. The J-10 has also been featured in photos and models carrying the FILAT (Forward-looking Infra-red Laser Attack Targeting) pod for laser designation of targets and the Blue Sky navigation / forward looking infra-red (FLIR) pod for low visibility, low altitude flights.
The J-10 is powered by a single Russian Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FN turbofan engine giving a maximum static power output of 11,700 kgf. The most significant difference between the AL-31FN and the AL-31F is the arrangement of certain parts and mechanisms due to spacial limitations of the engine bay in the J-10. The AL-31F is designed for a twin engine aircraft such as the Su-27. For the J-10's AL-31FN variant, protruding parts of the engine such as the gearbox and pump are mounted opposite to that of AL-31F.
The AL-31FN was initially expected to be replaced by a domestic powerplant developed and manufactured in China, the WS-10A (WoShan-10A) Taihang turbofan, giving a thrust of 129 kN (13,200 kgf or 29,101 lbf); however, the PLAAF delayed integration of the WS-10 onto the aircraft given development difficulties with the engine.
Russia has offered to provide China with a version of the AL-31FN that provides 12,500 kgf thrust and a 2,000-hour service life.
Weaponry and external loads
The aircraft's internal armament consists of a 23 mm twin-barrel cannon, located underneath the port side of the intake. Other weaponry and equipment is mounted externally on 11 hardpoints, to which 6,000 kg (13,228 lb)  of weaponry such as missiles and bombs, drop-tanks containing fuel and other equipment such as avionics pods can be attached.
Air-to-air missiles deployed may include short range air-to-air missiles such as the PL-8 and PL-9, medium-range radar-guided air-to-air missiles such as the PL-11 and PL-12, unguided and precision guided munitions such as laser-guided bombs, anti-ship missiles such as the YJ-9K and anti-radiation missiles such as the PJ-9.
- J-10A: Single seat multi-role variant. The export designation is F-10A.
- J-10S: Twin-seat fighter-trainer variant of the J-10A. The forward fuselage of the aircraft is stretched to accommodate an additional pilot seat, two pilots sit in tandem with a single large bubble canopy. Also incorporates an enlarged dorsal spine which may accommodate additional avionics equipment or fuel. As well as serving as training aircraft, the J-10S may also be used for the ground attack role where the rear seat pilot would act as the weapon systems operator.
- J-10AH: Naval version of the J-10A.
- J-10B: An upgraded variant of the J-10, also known as the "Super-10." The existence of the J-10B is not confirmed by official Chinese sources, but numerous images of a new J-10 variant have surfaced, showing a prototype J-10 modified with increased RAM, MAW, a diverterless supersonic inlet (DSI), an infra-red search and track (IRST) sensor, modified vertical stabiliser, ventral fins, housings fitted under the wings, and a modified nose. It had its first flight in December 2008.
- FC-20: An export variant of the J-10 designed for the Pakistan Air Force. First flight stated to take place in 2009.
- Pakistan Air Force: 36 on order (As of February 2011[update]) for delivery in 2012, with an eventual requirement for 150.
There have been four known crashes of the J-10 to date. The first crash was of a prototype combat aircraft during testing in 1998 with the most likely cause cited as failure of the fly-by-wire flight control system.
A third crash occurred in August 2009 when pilot Meng Fansheng was forced to eject from his aircraft when the aircraft suffered an abrupt loss of engine power. An official investigation by the PLAAF also echoed that the crash was the result of the failure of the AL-31F engine on the aircraft.
A fourth crash involving an active duty aircraft occurred on April 22, 2010, killing the commander of the 9th Division. An attempted government cover up failed when the pilot's funeral gained prominence. Official reports blamed pilot error.
On 7 March 2009, an active duty aircraft piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Li Feng suffered a total avionics failure during a tactical training exercise. Li Feng landed the aircraft safely and blamed the failure to smoke in the cockpit; the smoke was presumably generated by the engine and leaked in from the environmental control system.
- Crew: 1 (basic), 2 (trainer variant)
- Length: 16.43 m  (53 ft 10 in)
- Wingspan: 9.75 m  (31 ft 11 in)
- Height: 4.78 m (15.7 ft)
- Wing area: 39 m² (419.8 ft²)
- Empty weight: 9,750 kg (21,495 lb )
- Loaded weight: 14,876 kg (32,797 lb)
- Useful load: 4,500 kg (9,920 lb)
- Max takeoff weight: 19,277 kg (42,500 lb)
- Powerplant: 1 × Saturn-Lyulka AL-31FN or WS-10A Taihang turbofan
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.2 at altitude, Mach 1.2 at sea level
- g-limits: +9/-3 g (+88/-29 m/s², +290/-97 ft/s²)
- Combat radius: 1600 km with in-flight refueling
1100 km without in flight refueling ()
- Ferry range: 3200 km  ()
- Service ceiling: 20,300 m  (66,601 ft )
- Wing loading: 335 kg/m² (69 lb/ft²)
- Thrust/weight: 0.98 (with AL-31); 1.03 (with WS-10A)
- Guns: 1× 23mm twin-barrel cannon
- Hardpoints: 11 in total (6× under-wing, 5× under-fuselage) with a capacity of 6,000 kg (13,228 lb) external fuel and ordnance 
- Rockets: 90 mm unguided rocket pods
- Bombs: laser-guided bombs (LT-2), glide bombs (LS-6) and unguided bombs
- Up to 3 external fuel drop-tanks (1× under-fuselage, 2× under-wing) for extended range and loitering time
- Unnamed phased array radar 
- NRIET KLJ-10 multi-mode fire-control radar
- Externally-mounted avionics pods:
- Shenyang J-13
- Related development
- Related lists
- List of Chinese aircraft
- List of fighter aircraft
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- General information
- AirForce-Technology.com J-10 factsheet
- AirForceWorld.com J-10 article (Chinese)
- J-10B fighter jet article (Chinese)
- GlobalSecurity.org article on the J-10
- SinoDefence.com J-10 factsheet and pictures
- Chinese Military Aviation at Stormpages.com
- Milavia.com J-10 article and pictures (includes J-10 specifications from Air Forces Monthly magazine)
- SinoDefence.com article on J-10B
- Jane's Defence article on J-10B
News and magazine articles:
- GrandeStrategy.com article on the J-10B
- MIW article on the J-10
- Article on Russian involvement in J-10 design project
- Article on foreign involvement in J-10 design project
- Newspaper article on delivery of J-10 to Pakistan
- DefenceTalk.com J-10 picture gallery (includes official press release photos)
- Flamber.ru J-10 photo album (Russian)
- China shows off its fighter jets to the world BBC Retrieved 13 April 2010
PLAAF / PLANAF fighter aircraft Soviet designs Indigenous designs Projects See also: J-XX Active aircraft of the People's Liberation Army Air Force Lists relating to aviation General Military Accidents/incidents Records
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