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From China With Love: Pakistan Offered J10B Squadron

August 4, 2011

Chinese J10

The Chinese have always described their bilateral ties with Pakistan in the most glowing terms. The press release circulating the expected J10B  transfer is no exception as it launches with “Taking bilateral defense relations to a new high, China will give Pakistan a squadron of the advanced J10B fighter.

Apparently the scene of this most generous gift was during a visit to China by Lt. General Waheed Arshad. General Arshad is the Chief of General Staff, thereby the highest ranking officer in Pakistan. Gen. Arshad’s presence in China was reported on July 20–also the date of his arrival–and the J10B figured at a subsequent meeting with members of the Chinese defense industry present. Much earlier, the general was at the National Defense University, where many Pakistanis officers are currently being trained.

The Chengdu J10B is one of the most advanced multirole aircraft in the PLAAF arsenal. Originally designed in the 80s, it’s widely believed to be a copy of the Israeli Lavi fighter that never entered production. This interesting piece of background information is often dismissed by Chinese defense officials, who maintain it’s derived from an earlier prototype.

According to Wikipedia, the PLAAF operates a fleet of 130 J10s and three dozen were offered to Pakistan as early as 2006 when then President Pervez Musharraf toured a production facility.

French Mirage III

Pakistan maintains a diverse air arsenal that includes many Chinese aircraft such as the F7* plus French Mirages and U.S. F16s. Pakistan also jointly produced the advanced JF17 with Chengdu. The J10B, however, is a major step forward. Compared to the original J10, the ‘B’ variant possesses ECM equipment and is differentiated by the curved tip of its tail fin.

J10s that enter Pakistani service are re-designated as FC20s.

*A Chinese Mig21 clone.

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