Beijing Develops New Tactical Aircraft

K.B. Sherman, (c) 2003

Newscientist.com recently reported that the PRC is developing a stealth fighter aircraft. Development of the fighter's engines and weapons systems has begun at the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation in northeast China. Photos show a model of a twin-engine aircraft, dubbed the J-X, similar in appearance to the F-22, though with angular features similar to those of the 20-year-old F-117 Nighthawk, and with a non-reflective coating, according to Janes Defence Week.

China has also recently developed another fighter, the J-10 (Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Corp.), which is comparable to the US’ F-16, although this has not been officially unveiled, according to The Asia Times. Chinese engineers are said to have developed the J-10 in as a hybrid of the F-16 – one of which was supplied by Pakistan – and the Israeli Lavi fighter, cancelled in 1987. It is reportedly equipped with Israeli and Russian avionics and the AI31F turbofan engine from Russia. The J-10's radar and fire control system is reportedly the Israeli-made ELM-2021 system, which can simultaneously track six air targets and maintain a weapons lock on four. The plane is said to have capabilities similar to the Su-27, the Russian MiG-29 as well as the F-16, but with an estimated cost of less than $10 million, it could rival other jet makers on the international market.

Red Chinese J-10 Aircraft