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Punching Above its Weight; U.S. Congressional Report’s Comparison of China’s J-10 Light Fighter to Elite F-15 Heavy Platform

Abid123

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Punching Above its Weight; U.S. Congressional Report’s Comparison of China’s J-10 Light Fighter to Elite F-15 Heavy Platform Shows Just How Deadly the Small Jet Really Is

Designed as a single engine light multirole fighter to replace the J-7G, China’s J-10 entered service in 2006 as a complement to the heavier J-11B and Su-30 twin engine air superiority fighters - an analogue to the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-18 Hornet. Despite its extremely light weight, low cost and low maintenance requirements, the J-10’s capabilities impressed analysts across the world as soon as they became widely known, and the aircraft sets several records for a single engine fighter which it continues to hold by a considerable margin. Indeed, by the time the more capable J-10B variant entered service in the early 2010 a number of Western analysts were questioning not whether the fighter could combat aircraft of the same class fielded by rival powers, such as the F-16C or Japanese F-2, as it was clear that the Chinese jet retained an overwhelming advantage in such engagements, but rather whether the new jet could do the unthinkable and punch above its weight to take on elite and highly specialised twin engine air superiority platforms such as the F-15.



The F-15C Eagle and Japanese F-15J are analogues to China’s J-11, over which its J-11B and Su-30 retains a considerable advantage in their combat performances. The Eagle’s elite status is reflected in both its its capabilities, from its long range and world record speed of Mach 2.5 to its high operational altitude of 20km and payload of eight air to air missiles - as well as its extremely high operational and maintenance cost. The fighter remains the second most capable currently serving Western made platform in air to air combat by a considerable margin only to the F-22 Raptor, and retains a critical role in the air fleets of the United States and many of its foremost allies. Given this the fact that the J-10B, a fighter 40% lighter and costing just a fraction as much to operate and acquire, has been considered comparable to the F-15, is a considerable testament to its capabilities. Compared to the American F-16 and F-35, Sweden's Gripen or Pakistan's JF-17, none of which are in the same league as air superiority jets such as the F-15C or J-11B, the J-10’s capabilities are a far closer match for the heavy and elite twin engine fighters which dominate the skies today - arguably the greatest challenge to the dominance of these fighters since they first began enter service in the mid Cold War years. Despite its extremely light weight and single engine configuration the J-10’s capabilities are in many ways comparable to heavier and more expensive air superiority fighters fielded in its own fleet and those of rival powers. The fighter's 18km operational altitude in particular, well above its single engine rivals and higher than many elite twin engine jets such as the F-14D, allows it meet air superiority fighters near their own level and thereby nullify one of their primary advantages. A powerful WS-10 engine and three dimensional thrust vectoring systems further help compensate for advantages in speed and manoeuvrability usually held by twin engine jets. As a result of these outstanding capabilities the J-10C, the most recent and sophisticated variant of the fighter, is speculated to be the most capable single engine fighter in the world - with its rival the F-35 compensating for vastly inferior capabilities such as speed, operational altitude, firepower, sortie rate, engagement range and manoeuvrability with a lower radar cross section and stronger radar.



Attesting to the advanced capabilities of the J-10 and the perceived threat this posed to the American Eagle fleet, the United States Congress’ U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded in a report in 2014 citing rapid technological progress in Chinese military aviation, and in the defence industry as a whole, and signing out the J-10 design and the threat posed by what was then the latest variant, the J-10B, as an example. The report noted that the J-10 was roughly comparable to the F-15 in its capabilities as a result. Again it is critical to note that while China has fielded air superiority jets comparable or superior to those of the U.S. Air Force since the 1990s, the fact that a Chinese single engine multirole light fighter could compete with a heavy air superiority platform was nevertheless a momentous achievement for the J-10 program. Associate Editor at Military.com and former Highly Qualified Expert at the Pentagon serving with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics & Technology Kris Osborn referred to the Chinese fighter as an equivalent to the F-15 - almost certainly a reference to their capabilities considering their vastly difference configurations as heavy twin engine air superiority and light single engine multirole jets. Not only did the expert refer to the J-10 bearing analogous capabilities to the Eagle, but he also noted that the U.S. Air Force had perceived it to be a considerable threat to the F-15 which could potentially surpass the heavier jet in air to air combat, stating: “The US Air Force is vigorously upgrading the 1980s-era F-15 fighter by giving new weapons and sensors in the hope of maintaining air-to-air superiority over the Chinese J-10.” He cited a U.S. Air Force program costing half a billion dollars to provide some upgrades to the F-15 fleet as a means by which the service sought to respond to the threat posed by the J-10.



Ultimately while there is little doubt that the J-10 outclasses America’s own fighters of similar weights, the F-16 and F-18, with the U.S. Air Force continuing to upgrade the F-15 it is likely to retain a narrow advantage over the J-10B - with a higher altitude, speed, and payload which compensate for the Chinese jet’s greater sophistication, more advanced engine and higher use of composite materials - at least if not taking into account the single engine jet’s far lower costs and maintenance needs. The J-10C however, which entered service in April 2018 and is considered a next generation fighter designed to rival the American F-35, has effectively succeeded in punching far above its weight and challenging the air superiority jets of its rivals - fielding a more sophisticated airframe with high use of composite materials, engine technology far ahead of the Eagle’s F100, a radar cross section reducing airframe, stealth coatings, next generation PL-15 air to air missiles, an AESA radar and thrust vectoring capacities which heavily compensate for the increasingly dated Eagle’s slight advantages in other fields. With the vast majority of the U.S. fighter fleet is comprised of platforms far less capable in air to air engagements than the F-15, itself an aircraft which American Air Combat Command Chief General Mike Hostage referred to as heading for obsolescence by the year 2024, and with China for its part inducting far heavier and more capable jets to fulfil complementary roles to the J-10C such as the J-20, J-11D and J-16, this has considerable implications for the balance of power in the skies over East Asia - with the future apparently set to strongly favour China’s Air Force over that of the United States. Japan too, with its foremost air to air combat platform the F-15J apparently inferior to the lightest and least advanced of China's next generation fighters, faces a dire situation which may well force it to take urgent action to upgrade its air superiority capabilities.

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FuturePAF

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Punching Above its Weight; U.S. Congressional Report’s Comparison of China’s J-10 Light Fighter to Elite F-15 Heavy Platform Shows Just How Deadly the Small Jet Really Is

Designed as a single engine light multirole fighter to replace the J-7G, China’s J-10 entered service in 2006 as a complement to the heavier J-11B and Su-30 twin engine air superiority fighters - an analogue to the U.S. Air Force’s F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-18 Hornet. Despite its extremely light weight, low cost and low maintenance requirements, the J-10’s capabilities impressed analysts across the world as soon as they became widely known, and the aircraft sets several records for a single engine fighter which it continues to hold by a considerable margin. Indeed, by the time the more capable J-10B variant entered service in the early 2010 a number of Western analysts were questioning not whether the fighter could combat aircraft of the same class fielded by rival powers, such as the F-16C or Japanese F-2, as it was clear that the Chinese jet retained an overwhelming advantage in such engagements, but rather whether the new jet could do the unthinkable and punch above its weight to take on elite and highly specialised twin engine air superiority platforms such as the F-15.



The F-15C Eagle and Japanese F-15J are analogues to China’s J-11, over which its J-11B and Su-30 retains a considerable advantage in their combat performances. The Eagle’s elite status is reflected in both its its capabilities, from its long range and world record speed of Mach 2.5 to its high operational altitude of 20km and payload of eight air to air missiles - as well as its extremely high operational and maintenance cost. The fighter remains the second most capable currently serving Western made platform in air to air combat by a considerable margin only to the F-22 Raptor, and retains a critical role in the air fleets of the United States and many of its foremost allies. Given this the fact that the J-10B, a fighter 40% lighter and costing just a fraction as much to operate and acquire, has been considered comparable to the F-15, is a considerable testament to its capabilities. Compared to the American F-16 and F-35, Sweden's Gripen or Pakistan's JF-17, none of which are in the same league as air superiority jets such as the F-15C or J-11B, the J-10’s capabilities are a far closer match for the heavy and elite twin engine fighters which dominate the skies today - arguably the greatest challenge to the dominance of these fighters since they first began enter service in the mid Cold War years. Despite its extremely light weight and single engine configuration the J-10’s capabilities are in many ways comparable to heavier and more expensive air superiority fighters fielded in its own fleet and those of rival powers. The fighter's 18km operational altitude in particular, well above its single engine rivals and higher than many elite twin engine jets such as the F-14D, allows it meet air superiority fighters near their own level and thereby nullify one of their primary advantages. A powerful WS-10 engine and three dimensional thrust vectoring systems further help compensate for advantages in speed and manoeuvrability usually held by twin engine jets. As a result of these outstanding capabilities the J-10C, the most recent and sophisticated variant of the fighter, is speculated to be the most capable single engine fighter in the world - with its rival the F-35 compensating for vastly inferior capabilities such as speed, operational altitude, firepower, sortie rate, engagement range and manoeuvrability with a lower radar cross section and stronger radar.



Attesting to the advanced capabilities of the J-10 and the perceived threat this posed to the American Eagle fleet, the United States Congress’ U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission concluded in a report in 2014 citing rapid technological progress in Chinese military aviation, and in the defence industry as a whole, and signing out the J-10 design and the threat posed by what was then the latest variant, the J-10B, as an example. The report noted that the J-10 was roughly comparable to the F-15 in its capabilities as a result. Again it is critical to note that while China has fielded air superiority jets comparable or superior to those of the U.S. Air Force since the 1990s, the fact that a Chinese single engine multirole light fighter could compete with a heavy air superiority platform was nevertheless a momentous achievement for the J-10 program. Associate Editor at Military.com and former Highly Qualified Expert at the Pentagon serving with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army - Acquisition, Logistics & Technology Kris Osborn referred to the Chinese fighter as an equivalent to the F-15 - almost certainly a reference to their capabilities considering their vastly difference configurations as heavy twin engine air superiority and light single engine multirole jets. Not only did the expert refer to the J-10 bearing analogous capabilities to the Eagle, but he also noted that the U.S. Air Force had perceived it to be a considerable threat to the F-15 which could potentially surpass the heavier jet in air to air combat, stating: “The US Air Force is vigorously upgrading the 1980s-era F-15 fighter by giving new weapons and sensors in the hope of maintaining air-to-air superiority over the Chinese J-10.” He cited a U.S. Air Force program costing half a billion dollars to provide some upgrades to the F-15 fleet as a means by which the service sought to respond to the threat posed by the J-10.



Ultimately while there is little doubt that the J-10 outclasses America’s own fighters of similar weights, the F-16 and F-18, with the U.S. Air Force continuing to upgrade the F-15 it is likely to retain a narrow advantage over the J-10B - with a higher altitude, speed, and payload which compensate for the Chinese jet’s greater sophistication, more advanced engine and higher use of composite materials - at least if not taking into account the single engine jet’s far lower costs and maintenance needs. The J-10C however, which entered service in April 2018 and is considered a next generation fighter designed to rival the American F-35, has effectively succeeded in punching far above its weight and challenging the air superiority jets of its rivals - fielding a more sophisticated airframe with high use of composite materials, engine technology far ahead of the Eagle’s F100, a radar cross section reducing airframe, stealth coatings, next generation PL-15 air to air missiles, an AESA radar and thrust vectoring capacities which heavily compensate for the increasingly dated Eagle’s slight advantages in other fields. With the vast majority of the U.S. fighter fleet is comprised of platforms far less capable in air to air engagements than the F-15, itself an aircraft which American Air Combat Command Chief General Mike Hostage referred to as heading for obsolescence by the year 2024, and with China for its part inducting far heavier and more capable jets to fulfil complementary roles to the J-10C such as the J-20, J-11D and J-16, this has considerable implications for the balance of power in the skies over East Asia - with the future apparently set to strongly favour China’s Air Force over that of the United States. Japan too, with its foremost air to air combat platform the F-15J apparently inferior to the lightest and least advanced of China's next generation fighters, faces a dire situation which may well force it to take urgent action to upgrade its air superiority capabilities.

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If this is from a US source it seems intended to convince lawmakers to fund new platforms; the 4.5 generation fighter rather then keeping older F-16s and F-18s flying.
 

Polestar 2

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If this is from a US source it seems intended to convince lawmakers to fund new platforms; the 4.5 generation fighter rather then keeping older F-16s and F-18s flying.
The flanker platform is actually very awesome. High maneuverability despite its huge size. High payload and long leg.

What is holding the Russian flanker is only the outdated avionics. The Chinese completely solve this problem.

Wouldn't more F-35 solve the problem? Rather than going for a new platform.
 

FuturePAF

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The flanker platform is actually very awesome. High maneuverability despite its huge size. High payload and long leg.

What is holding the Russian flanker is only the outdated avionics. The Chinese completely solve this problem.

Wouldn't more F-35 solve the problem? Rather than going for a new platform.
F-35 is too costly to maintain; something like $44,000 per flight hour. Also, the ability to carry a lot of ordnance on the wings undermines the whole utility of employ the F-35. For the USAF; F-15EX is probably best and for the USN the F/A-18E/F is probably best.
 

dbc

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Even the americans admit How Deadly the J-10C combined with PL-15 Long Range AAM :coffee:
This report is citing Kris Osborn's observations from 2014 when he said the 1970's era F-15 avionics are on par with the latest J-10's.

Are you saying he was right? Read before you make stupid comments.
 

gambit

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Sure...Anything Russia and China make is superior to US. Any paper can say that.

An aircraft with a single straight up vertical stab has a lower RCS than an aircraft with twin canted vertical stabs. That is 'Chinese physics' but hey...We can take it. :enjoy:
 

dbc

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You still cannot answer this one with solid facts :coffee: Your bang bang personal opinion means nothing

As a result of these outstanding capabilities the J-10C, the most recent and sophisticated variant of the fighter, is speculated to be the most capable single engine fighter in the world - with its rival the F-35 compensating for vastly inferior capabilities such as speed, operational altitude, firepower, sortie rate, engagement range and manoeuvrability with a lower radar cross section and stronger radar.



If you are not smart enough to counter my facts, then don't cry & render to negative rating :(

I will keep busting your trolling posts, because the truth & facts should prevail
does anyone outside PLAAF know anything about the J10C to render any sort of judgement?
Has the J10C ever flown outside China? Participated in multinational exercise? Have the Chinese authorities released any specs on flight performance, radar or avionics? So how did an Indian writer for military watch conclude it is the most capable single engine fighter?

MilitaryWatch also claims the MIG 31 is the best air superiority fighter in the world. it’s predecessor the MiG 25 has a lousy combat record - so why is the MiG 31 the best? better than, the F22, Typhoon and J20 - is militarywatch really a credible source? I don’t think so.

but hey if you love eating an Indian turd sandwich then I won’t stop you.


negative rating was for resorting to personal attack.
 

siegecrossbow

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Whoever wrote the congressional report is probably a defense novice who doesn't understand military aviation very much. The J-10 constitutes the "LO" end of Chinese fighter aircraft and is not comparable to the F-15 in range, weapons load, or sustained rate of turn. A better comparison would be the indigenized flankers such as the J-11B/J-16.

Just a document is official doesn't necessarily mean that it is legit. I recall there was a USMC training manual in 2014(15?) on aircraft identification that used a J-20 cutout in place of a F-35! I'll link it here when I find it again.
does anyone outside PLAAF know anything about the J10C to render any sort of judgement?
Has the J10C ever flown outside China? Participated in multinational exercise? Have the Chinese authorities released any specs on flight performance, radar or avionics? So how did an Indian writer for military watch conclude it is the most capable single engine fighter?

MilitaryWatch also claims the MIG 31 is the best air superiority fighter in the world. it’s predecessor the MiG 25 has a lousy combat record - so why is the MiG 31 the best? better than, the F22, Typhoon and J20 - is militarywatch really a credible source? I don’t think so.

but hey if you love eating an Indian turd sandwich then I won’t stop you.


negative rating was for resorting to personal attack.
The J-10C has participated in two Shaheen exercises with Pakistan and one Falcon Strike exercise in Thailand. But I agree that not a lot of information about it are made public. Maybe more information will be released at Zhuhai 2020 if they are pushing it (more) for export.
 

The Terminator

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Seems to be a exaggerated analysis in favor of China. Su-30 far more superior than F-15s :cuckoo:. Well we have utterly humiliated that so called superior Su-30s with far more inferior platforms than US F-15s in February 2019.



If it's considered to be correct then that implies PAF's platforms are far more superior than any non-Stealth air superiority fighter west has to offer. :wacko:



Doesnt make any sense to me. :cuckoo:
 
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siegecrossbow

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Whoever wrote the congressional report is probably a defense novice who doesn't understand military aviation very much. The J-10 constitutes the "LO" end of Chinese fighter aircraft and is not comparable to the F-15 in range, weapons load, or sustained rate of turn. A better comparison would be the indigenized flankers such as the J-11B/J-16.

Just a document is official doesn't necessarily mean that it is legit. I recall there was a USMC training manual in 2014(15?) on aircraft identification that used a J-20 cutout in place of a F-35! I'll link it here when I find it again.


The J-10C has participated in two Shaheen exercises with Pakistan and one Falcon Strike exercise in Thailand. But I agree that not a lot of information about it are made public. Maybe more information will be released at Zhuhai 2020 if they are pushing it (more) for export.
If anyone wants to challenge my narrative, try find a more authoritative source than the official PLA military channel.


Capture.PNG


J-10's greatest advantage is advanced fire control system.

J-10.PNG

It is well suited to medium/long range aerial combat.

su30.PNG

Su-30 is very maneuverable

su30mk2.PNG

It is suited to close-in aerial combat.

In the segment which starts at 4:19 which introduces the PLANAF unit operating both Su-30MK2 and J-10H, pilots of the division directly stated that they are mixing J-10 and Su-30 because while J-10 has the advantage in BVR and the flankers have the edge in a knife fight. This is because all flankers imported by China, other than the Su-35, still rely on the N001 series of twist-cassegrain radars that are markedly inferior to slotted array radars, even one carried by a medium fighter like the J-10. F-15s do not have this problem and a significant number of them in USAF have switched to AESA from slotted array.

This doesn’t even account for the disparities in missile load. In Golden Helmet exercises, J-11B routinely holds an advantage over the J-10 because they have superior endurance due to greater fuel capacity, greater missile load, and superior ECM suite. Do you seriously think that the latest block Eagles can’t do better?

I’m not saying this to disparage the J-10 series. I’m a big fan of the CAC and Chinese aviation and my avatar was in fact a J-10B in yellow primer before the J-20 came out. However, I’m sick and tired of people making exaggerated Jai-Hind style claims about what it can or cannot do.
 
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akramishaqkhan

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These reports are peddled and back stopped by interest groups (usually western military industrial complex, in order to drive larger than reality threat scenarios). Serious military analysts will rarely make such declarations, because they know that it is not just the platform but its application given the scenario that defines its supremacy over another platform. For example a F35 is likely able to hit a J10 well outside of the engagement threshold of the J10. However once within that threshold or closer the J10 might very well give the F35 a run for its money. Now this conclusion is drawn from platform characteristics and till they actually go against each other in exercises or in conflict, the end result is unknown. So everyone just needs to relax because I dont see ever a scenario where a single F35 takes on a single J10C.

Having said the above given the basics we do know now, if I were to go into an air engagement today, I would bet on the F35 for a broad set of reasons. But the J10 is a formidable air asset.

Last point to make here is these one on one scenarios are seriously not the way to ascertain efficacy of a platform (fighter). Numbers, frequency of sorties, terrain, complementary EW platform, AWACS, weather, even down right luck factors into who comes out on top.
 

dbc

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The J-10C has participated in two Shaheen exercises with Pakistan and one Falcon Strike exercise in Thailand.
I stand corrected I hadn't realized the J10C had made its regional debut.
Negative rating is for personal attack
is the biggest BS I am reading today.

Mine was given as a result of an abuse of privileges and the post has nothing to do with even the despicable character.

IMO those privilege should be withdrawn otherwise IMO everyone ahould ostracized these individuals with suxh privilege.

Careful he will issue you with one.
You have a problem - follow forum rules and take your grievances to GHQ please.
 

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