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Dubai Airshow 2019: China's Chengdu promotes J-10C export variant

The Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC), one of two major fighter aircraft design and production centres in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), revealed the export variant of its J-10 fighter at the 17-21 November Dubai Airshow. Designated the FC-20E, the design is a near-parallel configuration of the J-10C, the third major iteration of the aircraft.

A model of the FC-20E, displayed at the Dubai Airshow. (Reuben Johnson)

A model of the FC-20E, displayed at the Dubai Airshow. (Reuben Johnson)

Photographs of the J-10C that circulated on Chinese aviation websites in October showed the aircraft still flying in factory primer, suggesting it is only in the initial stages of series-production.

It differs considerably from the original J-10A, most notably in its power plant. The initial J-10 batches have the Russian Salyut-made AL-31FN Series 3, a derivative of the engine installed in the Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30MKK purchased by China.

The installation of the AL-31F in the J-10A required the Salyut plant’s design team to rotate the gearbox and accessory pack to the underside of the engine. The aircraft’s air intake also had to be a quadrangular shape like that of the Su-27 inlet.

In contrast, the J-10C is reported to be powered with the Chinese-made Wo Shan (WS)-10A engine and features a diverterless, oblong-shaped air inlet. The CAC design team has also demonstrated the aircraft flying with an axisymmetric thrust vector control (TVC) nozzle and a modified nozzle that should reduce the rear hemisphere radar cross section. A J-10C pre-production aircraft in this configuration flew at the November 2018 Air Show China in Zhuhai.

The J-10C is also equipped with an active electronically scanning array (AESA) radar, a new avionics suite, and electronic warfare (EW) modules.

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