Pakistan and China have been negotiating the potential sale of Chengdu J-10 fighters for several years, with Pakistan seeking to acquire at least two squadrons of the aircraft. However, the newest B version, considered as comparable to the F-16 Block 50/52, surfaced for the first time last week.
Meanwhile the two countries are already underway in the local production of the Chinese designed JF-17, commonly known as ‘Thunder’. The aircraft is currently being produced in Pakistan and actively promoted for export in the world market.
The newest version of the aircraft designated J-10B made its first flight in 2009. The noticeable changes from the original J-10 are a new radome geometry reducing the radar signature of the aircraft, also contributing to this fighter’s stealth performance is the redesigned inlet, which also delivers higher massflow.
Avionics compartments were also installed on the vertical tail and inboard pylons, probably containing various sensors and electronic countermeasures. A new electro-optical sensor turret, most likely an Infra-Red Search / Track (IRST) set has also been introduced. It is also assumed the new version is designed to be fitted with the more powerful engine and larger radar than those used on the J-10A version.