The Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) began promoting the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation (CAC) J-10C for export. designated as the FC-20E, AVIC put a model of the fighter on display at its pavilion at the 2019 Dubai Air Show, that was held from 17-21 Nov 2019.
The J-10 is one amongst the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) mainstay multi-role fighters, serving as a light-to-medium weight complement to its massive and varied Flanker fleet.
The J-10C is the latest production variant of the J-10, following the J-10B, that introduced multiple key enhancements, like a Diverterless Supersonic Inlet (DSI) and electronically scanning radio detection and ranging.
In April 2018, China’s Ministry of Defence proclaimed that the PLAAF’s J-10Cs began taking over operational duties, indicating that the aircraft’s production and induction are each in full swing.
Marquee options of the J-10C reportedly embody an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar with one,200 transmit/receive modules (TRM) with compatibility with long-range beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-to-air missiles (AAM). The J-10C was additionally reportedly photographed with the WS-10 turbojet engine, with a minimum of one unit boasting a thrust-vector control (TVC)-equipped system.
Until recently, AVIC had been promoting the J-10A-based FC-20 for export, however, with the FC-20E, it’s clear that China’s aerospace giant is trying to promote a solution that better matches its competitors’ offerings.
With the FC-20E, AVIC is taking direct aim at markets the Russians and Americans are wanting to access the MiG-35 and F-16 Block-70/72, respectively. These markets are typically searching for modern, however cost-efficient multi-role fighters with modern sub-systems, like AESA radars.
However, in most cases, AVIC’s main competition is going to be Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), that is promoting the MiG-35 as a lower-cost alternative to Western fighters, particularly in Africa.