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J-10C Vs Rafale : How do they stack up against each other

Source : Firstpost

J-10C Vs Rafale : How do they stack up against each other
Chinese J-10C vs French Rafale

Responding to India’s purchase of the Rafale aircraft from France, Pakistan has reached out to its friend — China — and acquired a full squadron of 25 Chinese multirole J-10C fighter jets.

Since the acquisition comes as a means to counter India in the skies, it is only fair to compare the two aircraft and examine which of the two is better.

Size comparison

The Rafale is 15.27 metres in length and has a wingspan of 10.80 m. The J-10C, which is an upgraded version of the J-10, measures 15.49 metre in length and has a wingspan of 9.75 m.

Range and thrust

The J-10C has an empty weight of 8,850 kg against Rafale’s empty weight of 9,850 kg. The Rafale is heavier by one tonne when empty but has a far greater thrust coming out of its engines.

The Rafale has a 20 percent greater thrust for just 11 percent higher weight than the J-10C. This means for the same weight of fuel and weapons, Rafale is going to have a thrust-to-weight ratio far better than the J-10C which means better agility and higher energy which is the deciding factor within visual range (WVR) combat.

Moreover, the Rafale has a range of 3,700 km as compared to the 1,850 km that the J-10C offers. One aspect where the Rafale trails behind the J-10C is speed; while the Rafale has a maximum speed of Mach 1 (1,912 km/h), the J-10C is blazing ahead at Mach 2.2 (2,400 km/h).

What really matters is that the short-range missile of Rafale (MICA-IR) is generations ahead of the PL-8/9 missiles of the J-10C. The MICA-IR has an Imaging Infrared (IIR) seeker against PL-8’s Infrared (IR) seeker and also has a much higher range, off bore shoot capability, G tolerance and kill probability.

Radars and missiles

The J-10C has a Chinese AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar with 1,200 T/R (transmitter-receiver) modules. On the other hand, the Rafale is equipped with the RBE2 AESA radar with 838 T/R modules.

While both fighter jets come with sound radars, the Rafale has a slight edge as it has a higher detection range.

The J-10C uses the PL-15, which is a dual-stage BVRAAM with a 200+ km range. But the J-10C is crippled with a radar that cannot use its full potential and hence even though the missile has a good range, its full potential can never be utilised, experts have noted.

The Rafale, on the other hand, uses the Meteor which is unarguably the best AAM in the world it uses a next-generation technology called the ducted ramjet which ensures a high range of 200 km.


The Chinese fighter has never seen the light of battle or a joint exercise (except with Pakistan) whereas the Rafale has been used in combat operations in Mali, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and Syria.

One must note that the Chinese J-10C acquisition in Pakistan hasn’t been welcomed by all.

A prominent senator in the country, Dr Afnan Ullah Khan, tweeted that he did not “understand the logic behind buying J-10C”.

Khan wrote Pakistan already had an aircraft similar to the J-10, referring to the F-16. He reasoned that the J-10C was not “as good as the Rafale”, which is in service with the Indian Air Force.

Pakistan already has a fleet of US-made F-16s, which is considered a good match for Rafale and the J-10C is expected to strengthen its air capabilities.

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