This is a noteworthy OpEd due to Mr Xu Yongling stature as a J-10 test pilot. Given that, his "low opinion" of the FC-1 is not entirely unexpected.
Expert: J-10 more suitable for Argentina
(Source: China Military Online) 2015-02-11
BEIJING, February 11 (ChinaMil) – The "Chengdu FC-1 is a light fighter developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd specifically for the market in the third world countries. Its advantages include a high performance-price ratio, with a unit price of only more than 30 million U.S. dollars," said Xu Yongling, China’s meritorious test pilot of J-10 and air force theory expert.
However, Xu Yongling also pointed out that the Chengdu FC-1 originated from J-7 after all, it is not a fourth-generation warplane in a strict sense, thus with relatively low operational effectiveness.
Britain now deploys six "Typhoon" fighters in the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands, while four "Typhoon" fighters four or five years ago. Once the situation becomes tense, or simply if Argentina upgrades its air force equipment, the Britain may keep sending its "Typhoon" fighters or even E-3 early warning airplanes along the route of "mainland Britain-Gibraltar-Ascension Island- Malvinas (Falkland) Island" at any time.
"14 FC-1 fighters seem to have quantitative superiority over six Typhoon fighters, but the Britain can absolutely deploy one or two squadrons of Typhoon fighters and early warning airplanes in the Malvinas (Falkland) Island." In the eyes of Xu Yongling, the introduction of FC-1 actually doesn’t substantially help improve the situation in the Malvinas (Falkland) Island since there is no quantitative superiority and the single-aircraft combat capability is obviously inferior. "Even if less money is spent compared to that for J-10, it is a waste," said Xu.
Only J-10B can contend against "Typhoon"
If Argentina possesses the new-type J-10B which is also a fourth-and-a-half-generation fighter and equipped with the phased-array radar, it is completely capable of fighting the "Typhoon" fighter because the latter is using the traditional pulsed Doppler radar.
With the advanced navigation-power equipment that reaches the level for fifth-generation warplanes, the J-10B can also carry the China-made air-to-air missiles that reach the world's top level -- including the active radar guided medium-range missile PL-12 and infrared imaging guided fighting missile PL-10 which are no way inferior to the America-made medium-range missile AIM-120 and "Sidewinder" fighting missile.
If the J-10 is deployed in the Malvinas (Falkland) Island direction, its limited combat radius is worrying, because after all the Malvinas (Falkland) Island is 500 kilometers away from the mainland of Argentina. But the J-10B has the flight-refuel function, and this is not a big problem if the refueling aircraft is also introduced.
"Facing the Britain, a traditional powerful nation, as well as the surrounding countries such as Chile and Brazil which have introduced fourth-generation warplanes, Argentina would feel ashamed for the old stuffs it is using," Xu Yongling said that the F-16 fighters Chile bought from America were delivered in 2008. At present, Chile has 46 F-16 fighters, one Israeli "Vulture" early warning airplane, and three KC-135 refueling aircraft. Brazil signed the agreement with Sweden last year to buy 108 "Gripen" fighters, and the first batch of 28 such fighters will be delivered in 2019.
In such grim strategic environment, Argentina has to choose the equipment of the same level -- the new model of J-10, in order to have the freedom of choice and leeway. Once the production lines for fighters and ammunition are introduced, Argentina will be able to produce advanced fighters endlessly, making the cost of delivering combat forces from the mainland of Britain too high to bear, no matter the land-based aviation forces or aircraft carrier taskforce.
South America is an ideal entry point for China's export of warplanes
Arms sale is a sensitive field. Every country would be very careful when it begins to buy weapons from other countries. But once this gate is opened, the arms sale relations will be highly stable and last for long.
Xu Yongling gave an example. India began to buy weapons from the Soviet Union from the 1960s, and now adapts itself quite well to and trusts the Russian equipment. Though the French "Dassault Rafale" warplanes won the bid for Indian air force's latest big order for 126 fighters, no progress has been made so far. Now the deal would quite probably fail because the French want to raise the price. It is no easy even for America, let alone France, to sell weapons to India.”
"The China-made operational aircraft did not sell well in the past, because on the one hand some countries concerned hobbled us, and on the other hand, the China-made aircraft did have defects. But China's aviation industry today is not what it used to be." Xu Yongling believed that China must take solid steps to find an entry point in the international market for the advanced fighters that it produces, and such entry point may just lie in such South American countries as Venezuela and Argentina.