American intelligence officials
have confirmed what has long been suspected, that the new Chinese J-10 fighter
was built using Israeli technology. Russian engineers also admitted that the
J-10 had such technology. The J10 looks something like the American F-16, and
weighs about the same (19 tons). Like the F-16 the J10 has only one engine.
It's no accident that the J10 resembles the F-16, because Israel apparently
sold them technology for their Lavi jet fighter. Israel had abandoned the Lavi
project, because of the high cost and availability of cheaper alternatives
(buying F-16s and F-15s from the United States.) But the Lavi was meant to be a
super F-16, and incorporated a lot of design ideas from the F-16 (which the
Israelis were very familiar with, as they used them, and had developed new
components for them.) The Chinese denied any Israeli contribution, but Russian
engineers say that China had one of the Lavi prototypes. . Pakistan is believed
to have provided the Chinese with one of their F-16s for examination. There
does appear to be a lot of F-16 technology in the J-10.
end, the J10 did not perform all that
well in air combat, so the Chinese have been reconfiguring some of them
as a fighter-bomber (the J-10C). This version can carry over four tons of bombs
and missiles and has been equipped with a fire control system for delivering
missiles and smart bombs. The Chinese designed targeting pod is similar to the
Israeli Litening, and they were showing it off as early as 1998. American
warplanes use a later version of the Litening. The J10C will have a weapons
officer to concentrate on hitting things on the ground. China already has over
90 J10s in service, and Pakistan has some on order.