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  • Chengdu (AVIC) J-10 (Vigorous Dragon) / F-10 Vanguard Multirole 4th Generation Fighter Aircraft

    The Chengdu J-10 fighter program was denied by China up until early 2007 though the program may have evolved through developments begun in the late 1970s.

     Updated: 4/1/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    The Chengdu Jian-J10 (also "J-10" and "Annihilator" but known to the West as "Vigorous Dragon") was originally designed as an air-superiority fighter for China but was later revised to become an all-weather, day/night multirole fighter in much the same vein as the lightweight General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and similar Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum. The J-10 was developed from the now-defunct J-9 attempt and made her maiden flight on March 22nd/23rd, 1998 with introduction into the People's Liberation Army Air Force in 2005. Production began in 2003 and continues as of this writing (2012). The only other known operator of the system is the Chinese Air Force though Pakistan has been interested in procuring the type in squadron-strength numbers.

    The J-10 is thought to be a highly-developed Israeli IAI Lavi fighter with Russian-inspired turbofan engines - hence the correlation in many-a-publication of direct (and indirect) Israeli and Russian involvement in the J-10 program. Unlike the Lavi, however, the J-10 does not make use of wingtip pylons for air-to-air missiles.


    With funding in place several years before actual development of the aircraft began, the official call from above came in the form of Project 8610 - the requirement for an indigenous Chinese air superiority fighter to combat similar fourth generation systems in Russia and the West. The J-10 program gathered steam in 1986 under the guise of the Chengdu Aircraft Design Institute. While the J-10 was indeed developed as the required air superiority fighter, the close of the Cold War saw to it that she be revised more in the form of a multirole performer - capable of tangling with air-to-air targets as well as engaging land-based targets without much loss in overall performance.

    The Israeli Lavi was developed as a multirole fighter for the Israeli Air Force in the 1980's. Though the program was ultimately cancelled, the constructed prototypes went on to see a serviceable life as technology demonstrators for various other flight programs to test avionics and applicable flight systems. It is believed that Israeli involvement in the Chinese program culminated in a similar-looking airframe with multirole capability in the J-10.

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    Chengdu J-10A Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 2005
    Type: Multirole 4th Generation Fighter Aircraft
    National Origin: China
    Manufacturer(s): Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) / Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) - China
    Production Total: 300

    Structural (Crew Space, Dimensions and Weights)

    Operating Crew: 1
    Length: 50.85 feet (15.5 meters)
    Width: 31.82 feet (9.70 meters)
    Height: 15.68 feet (4.78 meters)

    Weight (Empty): 21,451 lb (9,730 kg)
    Weight (MTOW): 40,786 lb (18,500 kg)

    Installed Power and Standard Day Performance

    Engine(s): 1 x Woshan WS-10A Taihang OR Saturn Lyulka AL-31FN afterburning turbofan engine developing 29,101lb of thrust with afterburning.

    Maximum Speed: 1,452 mph (2,336 kph; 1,261 knots)
    Maximum Range: 1,118 miles (1,800 km)
    Service Ceiling: 65,617 feet (20,000 meters; 12.43 miles)

    Armament / Mission Payload

    1 x 23mm Type 23-2 double-barreled cannon

    PL-8 air-to-air missiles
    PL-9 air-to-air missiles
    PL-11 air-to-air missiles
    PL-12 air-to-air missiles
    PJ-9 air-to-surface missiles
    YJ-9K air-to-surface missiles
    LT-2 laser-guided bombs
    LS-6 glide bombs
    Rocket Pods (90mm unguided)
    General Unguided Drop Bombs
    2 x 212 gallon drop tanks (underwing)
    1 x 450 gallon drop tank (centerline)

    Up to 9,900lbs of external ordnance across 11 hardpoints (six underwing, five underfuselage).

    Global Operators / Customers

    China; Pakistan

    Model Variants (Including Prototypes)

    J-10 (Aircraft 01) - Prototype

    Prototype 06 - Prototype model for inflight refueling tests.

    Aircraft 05 - Preproduction Model for operational testing.

    J-10A "Vigorous Dragon" - Single-Seat Multirole fighter.

    J-10B "Super-10" - Twin-engine navy-based variant; features stealth capabilities and thrust-vector control.

    J-10AY - Two-Seat Model

    F-10A "Vanguard" - Pakistani Designation for single-seat J-10A model.

    F-10B "Vanguard" - Pakistani Designation for two-seat trainer variant.