The Chinese Eurofighter/F-16 Clone March 21 2015

No, this is not the Eurofighter Typhoon. (Well, it is, actually, only that one that is made in China.)


The Chengdu J-10 is supposed to be an indigenous fighter developed in China. Although it is similar in looks to the Eurofighter, it has a lineage closer to an Israeli fighter called Lavi, which in turn resembled a little F-16. It turns out that Israel stopped development of the Lavi (it was cheaper to buy F-16 from the US) and then sold some technical know-how to the Chinese and they in turn developed the J-10.

The J-10 being a smaller, cheaper, multirole airplane would in many ways be the parallel to the F-16 in the way that the J-10 would complement the bigger, more expensive, more capable J-11, J-15 and J-16 (all copies of the Su-27 and its variants).

The interesting thing in these little airplanes is that the J-10 is seen as an adversary to the F-16 in more ways than one. Yes, we can all imagine some crazy situation where F-16s go against J-10s not necessarily involving the US and China...It could be, for example, Chinese J-10 vs. South Korean F-16s.

However, since China is offering the J-10 for export (Pakistan already being a customer) now the US (Lockheed Martin, specifically) sees that J-10 as a competing product. Prices for war planes vary depending on the configuration and the deals one can negotiate, but it seems that there are no price difference between the F-16 and the J-10. But the kicker is that the F-16 although being continuously updated, it is a design from the 1970s while the J-10 was officially unveiled in 2007.

Of course, one of the strong points for the F-16 is that is has been exported to many countries and battle proven with positive reviews in performance, maintenance and reliability. Not so, the J-10.