A new batch of mass-produced Chengdu J-10B fighters are undergoing flight and taxi tests, Chinese media has reported saying that the aircraft will enter service “soon”.
The J-10B is an improved variant of the Chengdu J-10 manufactured by the state-owned Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation, also known as the Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, a subsidiary of AVIC.
The photos, which were posted on the cdjby.net military forum on 3 October, show four aircraft on the ground and two in the air. The airborne aircraft are numbered 120 and 122, while known serial numbers for the J-10B are: 101, 102, 103, 104, 106, 107, 110, 120, 122, and 201.
Chinese media also reported, without further elaboration, that some of the J-10Bs are equipped with China’s own WS-10 Taihang engine. Early J-10Bs were believed to be fitted with the Russian AL-31FN M1 engine – a more powerful version of the AL-31F that powers the J-10A.
The J-10B’s key differences from the J-10A include a redesigned chin intake, with the lower edge now angled forward and movable ramp replaced by a smaller, fixed, diffuser bulge that also contributes to reduced weight and radar cross-section; a longer nose radome that is believed to house an NRIET active electronically scanned array radar; and an electro-optic targeting sensor (infrared search and track, and laser rangefinder) mounted just forward of the windscreen, offset to starboard. It also has a new electronic warning or countermeasures pod atop the vertical stabiliser.