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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. In
the intervening two
years, the program has made notable progress.

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

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

According to Chinese news reports, the WS-10A has been flying on board
prototype aircraft of the J-10’s next block-series development, which
has been designated as J-10B. The WS-10A will replace the Salyut
AL-31FN engine, which was the aircraft’s original power plant.

Included as part of the J-10B’s configuration is an entirely new design
for the engine inlet, which has changed from the rectangular
configuration developed for the AL-31FN to an oval-shaped inlet. This
again parallels the F-16’s development in which a “big mouth” inlet was
developed for the aircraft to provide an increase in air flow for the
enhanced thrust of the GE F110 engine.

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

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