For novices, how to tell the difference between a J-10A and a J-10B?Popular Science said:This J-10B prototype, 1035, is installed with an indigenous WS-10B turbofan engine with a the bright silver afterburner nozzle, which makes it a completely Chinese fighter. However, the PLAAF choose to install the J-10B with the Russian AL-31FN III due to slightly higher thrust, lower costs and compatibility with existing J-10A logistics and supply chains.
New pictures have emerged of additional production models of the J-10B “Vigorous Dragon” fighter jets, one of the latest planes to equip China’s growing air force (PLAAF).
There are now J-10Bs painted in operational color scheme of the PLAAF, complete with an extended refueling probe on the right side forward of cockpit.
The J-10B differs from the original J-10A model in several ways: active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, integrated jamming pods, IRST sensor, diverterless supersonic intake (DSI), and an uprated AL-31FN Series III turbofan engine. These upgrades give the J-10B increased engine power, infrared detection against stealthy aircraft and increased jamming capability against enemy missiles. In particular, the DSI has two advantages over traditional engine intakes: it saves weight and is more stealthy against radar.
The most important upgrade in the J-10B is its AESA radar, which features a longer range, frequency hopping to foil enemy jamming and higher power to track stealth aircraft (such as the US B-2, F-22, and F-35) at long range. The J-10B also possesses a strong multirole capability-- it can carry both 100km ranged PL-12 air to air missiles and LS-500J laser guided bombs on the same mission. These advanced "4.5+ generation" features places the J-10B in the same class as the F-16 Block 60 (flown only by the UAE), French Rafale, and Eurofighter Typhoon.
The 22nd production model of the J-10B, numbered at "122", rolled off the production line in Chengdu.
The "122" serial number indicates that this fighter is the 22nd J-10B fighter to be produced for the PLAAF; the highest production serial number as of the date of this article = is "124".
Since late 2013, Chengdu Aviation Corporation has begun serial production of the J-10B, which had its first flight in 2008.
Compared to all the other J-10s, which have Russian AL-31FN engines, Number 1035 was fitted with a domestic WS-10B turbofan engine. But the WS-10B was not adopted, likely for cost reasons and in order to streamline logistics. This is potentially significant to the international arms trade. A J-10B powered by the WS-10B would be a completely domestic Chinese fighter, thus bypassing any Russian objections J-10B exports, which could compete with the MiG-35 in foreign markets.