The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theatre Command Air Force recently replaced some of its old J-7s with advanced J-10Cs equipped with domestic WS-10 Taihang engines to counter Taiwan’s new F-16V fighters.
Nine J-7E fighters recently left an airbase in the east of South China’s Guangdong Province as they retired from active combat service, state-owned CCTV reported Sunday.
The J-10C, which has been in service with several other PLA Air Force units, is one and a half generations more advanced than the J-7E, and will give pilots significantly more advantages in combat, analysts said.
Colonel Wang Hongbo, One of the Eastern Theatre Command Air Force pilots said, “With the J-10C, the pilot needs to switch his role from just being a pilot to being a combatant.” He noted that since the old J-7 uses mechanical flight controls while the J-10C uses fly-by-wire, the new warplane allows the pilot to focus on the battlefield instead of on steering the aircraft.
On Thursday, the commissioning of Taiwan’s first combat wing of U.S.-made F-16V jets took place. Local media wrote that the Vipers can defeat Chinese J-20 fifth-generation stealth aircraft.
A Chinese expert told the Global Times, “But the F-16V is just a 4.5-generation medium fighter jet, and the PLA’s J-10C is enough to rival it. The commissioning of more J-10Cs will further widen the power gap across the Taiwan Straits.”