China's new indigenously developed multi-role stealth fighter jet J-10C, capable of striking precisely both land and maritime targets, were put into active combat duty today, the military said.
The third-generation supersonic fighter jets are equipped with an advanced avionics system and multiple advanced armament, making it capable of precisely striking both land and maritime targets within medium and close range, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) said in a statement. China had in February commissioned its the latest J-20 stealth fighter into its air force's combat service. The J-20 is China's fourth-generation medium and long-range fighter jet. The Chinese supersonic fighter jet had made its debut in July last year, when the PLA marked its 90th anniversary, at Zhurihe military training base in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The fighter will enrich the air force's offensive and defensive system and improve its capability to fulfil duties and missions, the statement said. Shen Jinke, a spokesperson for the PLAAF, said that the air force will advance training and war readiness, and sharpen its striking, defensive, and air delivery capabilities. It will also firmly safeguard China's airspace security and national strategic interests in the new era, Shen was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Taiwan's state-owned news agency the Central News Agency (CNA) had earlier reported that the J-10C is more streamlined than the J-10 B to reduce drag. Hong Kong military analyst Leung Kwok-leung said that the J-10C has stealth capabilities entirely different from existing stealth warplanes. The J-10C fuselage absorbs radar waves and weakens its signals, as a result, the waves do not bounce back to the radar, making the plane stealth, the state-run Global Times said quoting the CNA report today. It is a brand new stealth technology, it said.
The news of induction of the new warplane came at a time when Chinese military held its biggest ever military exercises and parade in the disputed South China Sea last week. The naval hardware seen at the parade, inspected by Chinese President Xi Jinping, showcased achievements made by the People's Liberation Army Navy, including nuclear submarines in its modernisation drive, military observers said. A researcher at the PLA Naval Military Studies Research Institute, Senior Captain Cao Weidong said that the Navy received a large number of new weapons with advanced capabilities over the past five years and new hardware features a higher information capability and optimised joint operation system and thus can better carry out sophisticated joint operations.
Cui Yiliang, editor-in-chief of Modern Ships magazine, said the Navy showed almost all of its new hardware delivered during the past 10 years. It is now capable of conducting every naval operation, from strategic strike to amphibious assault, he said. "The nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines involved in the parade are of the latest generation and have many improvements compared with their predecessors. The new nuclear-powered attack submarines are reportedly capable of launching cruise missiles," he said Wu Peixin, a defence industry analyst in Beijing, said the PLA Navy has been steadily and rapidly catching up with the US Navy in terms of technological and operational capabilities of its hardware.