Electronic Weapons: Chinese Deploy Superior Avionics

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August 17, 2007: China is touting the advanced electronics in their new J10A fighter. The J10A is using an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. AESA systems consist of thousands of tiny radars that make it possible to track many different targets simultaneously. China claims the J10A radar can track ten targets at once, and attack four of them simultaneously (with long range missiles). China has revealed other military AESA radars recently, indicating years of intense research and development in this area.

The J10 is also Chinese made. It looks something like the American F-16, and weighs about the same (19 tons). Like the F-16, and unlike the Su-27, the J10 has only one engine. Originally, the J10 used a Russian AL-31FN engine, but China has been working for a decade to manufacture their own version of this, the WS10A.

It's no accident that the J10 resembles the F-16, because Israel apparently sold them technology for the Israeli Lavi jet fighter. Israel 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.) China has about a dozen J10As in service, and will probably increase production once their WS10A engine is operational (which may be in a year or two.) China's extensive espionage efforts in the U.S. has long sought jet engine and AESA technology.

 


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