Pakistan's interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed recently said the country is set to buy 25 J-10C fighter jets to counter India’s Rafale jets.

Pakistan is set to buy China's J-10C fighter jets which are reportedly going to be showcased during Pakistan Day parade on March 23.

France is set to complete its order of 36 Rafale jets to India by April this year. On the other hand, reports say the Chinese jets will arrive in Pakistan in March.

China's Firebrand

NATO calls the J-10C "Firebrand" and is also known as "Vigorous Dragon" manufactured by Chengdu Aircraft Corporation (CAC) for the Chinese Air Force.

It can carry out air-to-air combat including strike missions. Pakistan had requested to buy the fighter jets as far back as 2006. The negotiations finally led to the purchase of 25 J-10C fighters.

JF-17 Now Forms Backbone of PAF

In fact, Pakistan has acquired a significant number of JF-17 aircraft, jointly developed with China, to replace the ageing Mirage aircraft. Pakistan currently operates about 100 JF-17s in four to six squadrons, according to SIPRI.

The report says the Ra’ad ALCM (an Ukrainian Import) is intended to provide the PAF’s fighter-bombers with a standoff nuclear capability.

It has been flight-tested seven times since 2007. The last reported flight test was in 2016.

An improved version, the Ra’ad-II, was displayed for the first time in 2017 and is reported to have a range of 600 kilometres.

Rafale's Air-To-Ground, Air-To-Air Attack Capability

With a service ceiling of 50,000 feet, the Rafale combat aircraft can reach maximum speeds of 750 knots.

It can carry out both air-to-ground strikes, as well as air-to-air attacks and interceptions during the same sortie. The jet is capable of performing several actions at the same time, such as firing air-to-air missiles during a very low altitude penetration phase, giving it outstanding survivability.

The mission system of the Rafale has the potential to integrate a variety of current and future armaments.


It has been cleared to operate weapons like the MICA air-to-air 'Beyond Visual Range' (BVR) interception, combat and self-defence missiles, the METEOR very long-range air-to-air missile, the HAMMER -- Highly Agile and Manoeuvrable Munition Extended Range -- modular, rocket-boosted air-to-ground precision-guided weapon series, laser-guided bombs with different warheads, and "specifics armaments" selected by some clients.

The Rafale is also fitted with 14 hardpoints, out of which five are capable of drop tanks and heavy ordnance.

The jet's total external load capacity is more than nine tons.

"Hence, Rafale can lift the equivalent of its own empty weight in payloads," according to Dassault. As per the manufacturers, the pilot interface is very easy to use and relies on a highly integrated suite of equipment which has capabilities for short-term, medium and long-term actions.

The design of the cockpit gives a wide field of view at the front, on both sides, and at the rear.

Rafale Deployed In Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria And Mali

The Rafale is France's most state-of-the-art fighter jet, capable of speeds of more than 2,000 kilometres an hour (1,400 miles per hour), which has been deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Mali.

China had placed its premier J-20 jets close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as the Indian Air Force ramps up its Rafale fighters.

In fact, Indian Air Chief RKS Bhadauria had said recently that "They had brought their J-20 fighter aircraft to areas close to eastern Ladakh," adding, "The moment Indian Rafales were brought in, their J-20 was there."

METEOR Missile

In fact, the French Air and Space Army has completed its first operational flight with a Rafale jet equipped with METEOR war-grade missiles as part of the ramp-up of the Rafale F3-R. From now on, the Air and Space Army will see its air-to-air missile capacity reinforced in the context of air defence, conventional or nuclear assault missions, it said.

A true “game changer”, the METEOR brings considerable capacity gain to the Rafale, reinforcing our ability to “enter first” in an unprecedented way, the French Air and Space Army said.

China Junks Russian AL-31F engine

As part of its thrust to modernise its premier fighter aircraft, China recently upgraded the J-20 stealth fighter's engine replacing it with a homegrown product. Chinese engineers have upgraded the Russian AL-31F engine with domestically built WS-10C engine.

The move comes as India packed its Air Force with eight Rafale fighters last year to boost its strike capability as tensions mounted in eastern Ladakh. Although China on Wednesday announced it was pulling back its troops from frontline areas along the LAC but Air Force from both countries continue to bolster their war capability.

China's J-20 Stealth Fighter Jets Deployed 200 Miles From Ladakh Airbase

China had unveiled its new stealth fighter jet, the J-20, the country's first radar-evading combat aircraft, during one of the many test runs at the military airbase in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province in January 2011.

A test flight of China's new stealth fighter jet on January 11 overshadowed a US bid to shore up uneasy military relations, underscoring a growing rivalry between the two powers.

According to reports, China has deployed J-20 stealth fighter jets 200 miles from Ladakh airbase. Satellite images showed two jets at Hotan amid the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh.

The Chinese J-20 is touted to be the most advanced fighter jet in the Dragon's arsenal with advanced long-range strike capability with sophisticated artificial intelligence capability. Reports say China has at least 20 J-20 jets.

However, the key question is whether the J-20s which have largely been untested in battle conditions can operate in the high altitude regions in the upper Himalayas?

In fact, there were reports that China may have downgraded the super jet after a Global Times report said it was a "fourth-generation" fighter and not a "fifth-generation" jet.

Even though the Chinese Air Force likes to compare the J-20 to the US F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters but western experts feel the Chinese jets still have some way to go because China still hasn't tested it in "war-like" live situations.