Is it a “mistake” or an “opportunity” for Pakistan to buy the J-10C against the “Rafale”

J-10 vs Rafale
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According to a report by Pakistani media on December 29, the Pakistani interior minister said in a public speech to the media on the 28th that the Chinese J-10C fighter jets purchased by Pakistan will enter service as early as March 2022. However, there is no news of the purchase of the J-10C for the Pakistan Air Force yet, and a member of the Pakistan Air force also publicly stated that the J-10C cannot effectively fight against the Indian Air force”Rafale”.

I still hold the previous point of view. The overall combat performance of the J-10C is not as good as that of the “Rafale”, but it can fight in a specific environment, and the performance is not very different. For example, in a mountainous terrain environment, the J-10C You can make up for your shortcomings. Fighting on sea level or plain terrain, then if the pilots are technically superior, they can also wait for an opportunity to attack by correct dodging, but if the pilots of both sides are of the same level, then fighting on sea level or plain terrain, the J-10C will loose.

J-10C fighter aircraft with PL-15 AAM
J-10C fighter aircraft with PL-15 AAM

Rafale and J-10C both use active phased array radar, but the Rafale has 14 pylons, which can carry 4 missiles, an electronic pod, and a 1250-liter external fuel tank thanks to supercruise, Rafale can achieve supersonic speed with out using afterburner; the naval version of the Rafale M can carry 6 air to air missiles. For supercruise at Mach 1.4 under anti-air missiles, the J-10C does not have such mount capability and supercruise capability.

indian air force Rafale
Rafale F3 equipped with Meteor AAM, Hammer Air to Ground, external fuel tanks and Thales targeting Pod

In terms of radar detection distance, both fighters use active phased array radar. The RBE-2-AA active phased array radar used by the Rafale fighter purchased by the Indian Air Force has a detection distance of only 200 kilometers. Due to insufficient data, it is also where I am more puzzled. Because from the official data, the air-to-air detection distance of the JF-17 Block 3 fighter by using the KLJ-7A active phased array radar is 170 kilometers, which is not bad it will truly increase the capability of JF-17. The current data of the J-10C is not very clear, but if we compare Taiwan F-16V then according to media reports F-16V has a detection distance is 140 kilometers, and the detection distance of the J-10C is 160 kilometers. Compared with the JF-17 Block 3, there is no advantage, so why do Pakis buying the J-10C at a higher cost.

I personally think that the purchase of the J-10C is not really to fight against the “Rafale” fighter, but to make up for the lack of its own multi-purpose fighter. We all know that the “Rafale” is a versatile, multiple high-load (It can carry 9 tons of weapons) fighter. The power pylon gives it a very good ability to strike on the ground, and in addition to the F-16, it is difficult to have a multi-purpose fighter against it. Although JF-17 Block 3 can good amount of armament, However, the bomb load and its lightweight fuselage limit the development. As a fighter against the F-16 and J-10C it can come close but not the same level. JF-17 block 3 in terms of bomb load, that is, when the same bomb is mounted, Better battery life than Xiaolong 3.

Indian air force Rafale F3R
Indian air force Rafale F3R

Finally, in the face of the threat of the Indian armed forces S-400, the J-10C, like the JF-17 block 3, can perform air defense suppression tasks, and can carry targeting pods at the same time, which will greatly enhance the comprehensive combat capability of the Pakistani Air Force. Also in the implementation of coordinated penetration, deep strike and other tasks, it will become more and more comfortable.

So should the Pakistan Air force buy J-10C or not. For the period of time, it will be an excellent training ground. Through the confrontation, you can objectively know the maneuverability and combat tactics of the “Rafale” fighter, followed by its own radar and weapons. It will be tested and can be improved. Finally, the actual combat level of the J-10C is complete “ZERO” PAF could test through the actual combat against India (If they are willing to sacrifice the jet and Pilot), they can test against terrorists. Although there are a large number of fifth-generation aircraft in service, they are expensive for Pakistan. Whether the J-10C can get the last piece of the pie depends on its performance.

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