Pakistan orders FC-20E fighter aircraft or JS-10, an export look alike of J-10C

Pakistan Air Force has ordered FC-20 fighter aircraft from the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), one of two major fighter aircraft designers and manufacturers in the People’s Republic of China. CAC had unveiled a new export version of its J-10 fighter at Dubai Airshow 2019. Designated as FC-20E, the aircraft looks like an almost complete copy of the newest Chinese J-10C.

Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad announced the news of the purchase of Chinese fighter jets during a public event. According to the Minister, the induction of JS-10 fighters will begin in March 2022. JS-10 could be FC-20 renamed Joint Strike Fighter -10, similar to FC-1 being referred to as JF-17 – Joint Fighter -17.

The basic version for the FC-20E is not inferior to its counterparts in many technical respects. For example, the aircraft boasts good stealth features, has an advanced radar station with AFAR (Active Phased Antenna Array), as well as an expanded arsenal of modern aviation weapons.

Chinese claimed that the WS-10A engine is installed on the fighter, which is unlikely. Earlier versions of the J-10 fighter were fitted with the Russian AL-31FN engine, a version of the AL-31F engine used on the Soviet Su-27. It remains to be seen if Russia had consulted India before selling these engines to Pakistan bound FC-20. In 2007, the Russian media had reported that Pakistan expects to receive Chinese J-10 fighters with Russian engines.

FC-20E Fighter Aircraft
FC-20E Fighter Aircraft model. Image: Janes

Pakistani Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad announced the news of the purchase of Chinese fighter jets during a public event. According to the Minister, the induction of J-10 fighters will begin in March 2022.

There is no official confirmation of the number of units purchased yet, but sources in Pakistan say that 36 aircraft will be bought, which is enough to equip two squadrons of 18 fighters each. Pakistan has also not revealed the J-10 fighter model purchased for the Air Force.

The Pakistani minister said the purchase was in response to India purchasing Rafale aircraft.

In 2007, a piece of similar news about Pakistan purchasing 36 J-10’s had appeared, and the deliveries were estimated by 2009.

Also Read: Why did Pakistan order an inferior FC-20 when China has reduced its J-10C production and why not second-hand F-16s?

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