Pakistan will reportedly receive 36 Chengdu J-10C multirole fighters from China by the end of this year.
On Monday, House for Strategic & International Affairs (HSIA) posted on Twitter, “Pakistan is set to receive 36 J-10C semi-stealth, 4.5 gen advanced fighter Jets from China by the end of 2021.”
The information has not been confirmed by the defense ministries of China or Pakistan.
As per 2020 reports, high-level government officials from Islamabad were in Talks with China over the procurement of PL-10 and PL-15 missiles, as well as J-10 jets that are often compared with the American F-16s.
During Shaheen-9 joint air exercises held in January 2021 which saw participation of these two countries, China’s J-10C and J-11B fighters simulated India's Rafale and Su-30 jets respectively in mock battles. Air Forces from both sides focused on “large scale confrontation, including large scale aerial battles and use of forces in mass and close-quarters aerial support.” More than 200 sorties were conducted by both sides, to boost combat capabilities in learning from each other.
Beijing has been trying to hardsell its J-10C and J-11B fighters to Pakistan whose air force has shown preference for the latest version of the F-16 jets. A Chinese expert told state media after Shaheen-9 that many aspects of the J-10C mid-sized fighter jet, including the size, aerodynamic characteristics, aviation, weapon systems and overall combat capability are comparable to the Indian Air Force (IAF)’s Rafale.
Powered by a Russian engine (Lyulka Saturn AL-31FN) giving it a maximum static thrust of approximately 123 kN, the single-engine tail-less canard delta wing J-10C features fly-by-wire flight controls and sports an AESA fire control radar. It is made of composite materials for high strength and lower weight. China has developed a brand new engine, WS-10, to replace the Russian ones.
The aircraft's internal armament consists of a Gryazev-Shipunov GSh-23 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 of either missiles and bombs, drop-tanks containing fuel, or 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-10, medium-range radar-guided air-to-air missiles such as the PL-12 and PL-15, unguided and precision guided munitions such as laser-guided bombs, air-to-surface missile such as KD-88, anti-ship missiles such as the YJ-91A and anti-radiation missiles such as the YJ-91.