China's J-10C and J-11B fighters simulated India's Rafale and Su-30 jets respectively in mock battles at the recently concluded Shaheen-9 China-Pakistan air exercises.
China Central Television (CCTV) reported Saturday that the joint exercises started on December 7 in Pakistan and lasted about 20 days, with China sending warplanes including J-10C, J-11B fighter jets, KJ-500 early warning aircraft and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft, and Pakistan warplane included the JF-17 and Mirage III fighter jets.
Many aspects of the J-10C mid-sized fighter jet, including the size, aerodynamic characteristics, aviation and weapon systems and overall combat capability, are comparable to the France-made Rafale, a type of fighter jet in service with the Indian Air Force, Fu Qianshao, a Chinese military aviation expert, told the Global Times on Monday.
He added the J-11B heavy fighter jet has very similar appearance with India's Su-30 fighter jet but with superior avionics system. The deployment of Chinese special mission aircraft like early warning aircraft and electronic warfare aircraft would contribute to the improvement of joint operations in an integrated combat system, Fu said.
During Shaheen-9, air forces from both sides focused on “large scale confrontation, including large scale aerial battles and use of forces in mass and close-quarters aerial support,” CCTV said. More than 200 sorties were conducted by both sides, to boost combat capabilities in learning from each other.
Chinese pilots could learn from the aggressive maneuvers and rich experiences of Pakistani pilots, Fu said.
"Unlike previous Shaheen series exercises, this time we comprehensively deployed aviation forces and paratroopers, and added real combat-oriented training courses like maritime training for the first time," said Ding Yuanfang, a Chinese Air Force deputy brigade commander, on CCTV.
Both sides also deployed special operation units, and the Chinese Naval Aviation also sent warplanes to the drills, CCTV reported.
China has been trying to hardsell its J-10C and J-11B fighters to Pakistan whose air force has shown preference for the latest version of the F-16 jets.
However, Islamabad’s attempt to get U.S. defence equipment may be hit following the introduction of a bill introduced in the US House of Representatives yesterday to terminate the designation of Pakistan as a major non-NATO ally. Pakistan was given the designation as a major non-NATO ally during the Bush administration in 2004.