Chengdu J-10 Next Variant Developing

Chengdu Aerospace’s most famous product, the J-10 fighter aircraft,made its inaugural appearance at Zhuhai’s Air Show China in 2008,offering one of the most remarkable flight displays of the event. Inthe intervening two
years, the program has made notable progress.

The J-10’s evolution mirrors that of another famous single-enginefighter aircraft, the Lockheed Martin F-16 in more than one respect.

One of the F-16’s major developmental milestones was the introductionof a second, alternate engine, the F110-GE-100, which at the timeproduced 6,000 lbs more thrust than the F-100-PW-100/220 that was theaircraft’s original power plant. In the same vein, Chinese industry hasbeen hard at work to complete testing and development of the LimingAeroengine Manufacturing Corporation (LMAC) WS-10A engine.

According to Chinese news reports, the WS-10A has been flying on boardprototype aircraft of the J-10’s next block-series development, whichhas been designated as J-10B. The WS-10A will replace the SalyutAL-31FN engine, which was the aircraft’s original power plant.
Included as part of the J-10B’s configuration is an entirely new designfor the engine inlet, which has changed from the rectangularconfiguration developed for the AL-31FN to an oval-shaped inlet. Thisagain parallels the F-16’s development in which a “big mouth” inlet wasdeveloped for the aircraft to provide an increase in air flow for theenhanced thrust of the GE F110 engine.

In the modern day, however, what makes the major difference in combataircraft performance is the capability of the on-board electronicsystems. Chinese industry officials told Aviation Weel that a new lineof products is in development to replace some of the major podcontainer systems in use now on the J-10 and other aircraft.

Most notable here is the CETC KG300G electronic warfare pod, which willbe redesigned in a new variant that expands the frequency bandwidths itcan cover. Also in development is a new-generation activeelectronically scanned array (AESA) radar that would replace theaircraft’s current mechanically-steered array. “AESA radars are a majorimprovement for any fighter aircraft,” said one Chinese designer, “inthat it provides a significant increase in reliability and radarperformance.”

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