The J-10 multirole fighter jet is the best choice for Argentina’s air force if it buys combat aircraft from China as earlier reports have suggested, according to aviation experts.
Western news organizations have reported that Argentina is expected to buy a number of fighter jets from China, and the two nations have set up a working group to discuss related issues.
The South American nation is reported to be interested in the J-10 and FC-1, both single-engined, lightweight multirole fighter jets developed by the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group, a subsidiary of the State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China.
Wang Ya’nan, deputy editor-in-chief of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told China Daily: “Argentina gained a lot of experience in the use and purchase of weapons from the Malvinas－or Falklands－War.
“So, it will choose a well-developed weapon, such as the J-10, which has served in China and has major parts made in this country rather than being imported.
“The J-10 should be more competitive and attractive than the FC-1 (also known as the JF-17 Thunder) when it comes to a possible deal with Argentina,” he added.
Every buyer wants to obtain the latest, most advanced weapon and the J-10 is more advanced and powerful than the FC-1, making it an ideal choice for overseas buyers, Wang said.
In June 2013, managers from Argentine aerospace company Fabrica Argentina de Aviones told reporters at the 50th International Paris Air Show they had held discussions with Chinese officials over potential co-production of the FC-1.
According to Defense Industry Daily, an online trade publication, Argentina is interested in the FC-1, a joint effort by China and Pakistan that is being used by the Pakistan air force, because it can carry Chinese-made C-802 subsonic and CM-400AKG supersonic anti-ship missiles.
However, Xu Yongling, a military aviation expert, said the FC-1 cannot compete with the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets stationed by Britain on the Falkland Islands, which will make its introduction a waste of money for Argentina.
“In contrast, the new-type J-10B is a fourth-generation fighter equipped with an active electronically scanned array radar and the world-class PL-12 radar-guided air-to-air missile, making it capable of fighting the Eurofighter Typhoon,” he said.
The fighter jet contract with Argentina, which observers say is likely to be finalized soon, will be the latest achievement for China in its arms sales to South America.
In the past year, China has delivered military vehicles and pontoon bridges to Ecuador, fulfilled a military helicopter deal with Bolivia, and signed contracts for training aircraft and amphibious combat vehicles with Venezuela, according to foreign media reports.