Islamabad: Pakistan is about to get its second consignment of J-10 fighter aircraft from its all-time friend China. The consignment will include 8 fighter aircraft. China handed over 6 fighter aircraft to Pakistan in the first consignment. Pakistan had signed a deal to buy a total of 36 J-10 fighter jets from China. From these fighter planes, two squadrons will be made in the Pakistani Air Force, which will be deployed on the border with India. China’s J-10 is a copy of Israel’s old fighter aircraft IAI Lavi. Israel shared the design of its fighter plane with China. Based on its technology, the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group of China developed the Chengdu J-10 fighter aircraft.

China’s J-10 fighter aircraft is based on Israeli technology. Israel closed this multi-million dollar project in the year 1987. Twelve of the 13 ministers in the cabinet of the then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir gave their support for the closure of the project. The cabinet, approving Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres’s proposed $100 million budget, ordered Israel Aerospace Industries to develop the technology of the future. After which Israel Aerospace Industries also developed a prototype, but this aircraft never went into the line of serial production.

It is claimed that Israel closed the IAI Lavi project under pressure from then US President Ronald Reagan. The Reagan administration ordered the closure of this Israeli project so that the two countries could work together to develop a new aircraft for the future. The US had offered that if Israel joined, One would not only share the technology, but would also offer to help Israel develop research and development infrastructure for the defence industries.

China has the largest number of Chengdu J-10 aircraft. About 488 J-10 variants are included in the Aviation Wing of the Chinese Air Force and the Chinese Navy. Launched in 2005, the J-10 is a single-engine multirole fighter with a delta wing and canard design. The J-10 is fitted with 11 hardpoints, an active electronically scanned array radar and a 23 mm gun. It is believed that it can fly at a speed of Mach 2 to an altitude of about 60,000 feet.

However, J-10 fighters have a chequered life, with several accidents reported due to mechanical and technical failures. Being a closed society most of these incidents go unreported in the mainstream media but with the advent of social media some of these accidents have filtered through sources within and outside China. It would be worthwhile to see, how long PAF would be able to hold on to a inferior fighter jet in its arsenal.