China may export its J-10B fighter equipped with the Russian-built AL31FN-S3 engine to Pakistan and other potential buyers from Asia, Latin America and Africa in the near future, writes the Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine based in Canada.
Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group last year began the mass production of the J-10B fighters. A total of 14 of the jets have already been painted with PLA Air Force markings and turned over to the military while at least 10 aircraft are undergoing test flights. Kanwa said the PLA Air Force will eventually commission 24 J-10Bs to form a fighter regiment before the end of the year.
Designed as the upgraded version of the J-10 fighter, the J-10B is the first domestically designed aircraft fitted with a diverterless supersonic inlet to shield the engine compressor blades from radar waves. The article also noticed that new electronic warfare systems can also been in front of the canards and atop the vertical stabilizer. With infra-red search and track sensors, the aircraft can also carry out reconnaissance operations.
Russia has agreed to sell advanced AL31FN engines to China to improve the J-10B's power systems and the first batch of the engines is expected this year. This will increase the life of the aircraft from the J-10A's 500 flight hours to the J-10B's 750 hours. As China begins to introduce more Russian engines in the future, all J-10B aircraft will be fitted with the AL31FN.