For starters, J-10CE is the export variant (E for export) of the J-10Caircraft which is the third improved variant of the Chinese J-10A which in turn is a copy of the Israeli fighter IAI Lavi. It is a single-engine, lightweight, multirole combat aircraft with decent performance but nowhere near to that of Rafale.
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 ton when empty but has a far greater thrust coming out of its engines. The two M88 engines of Rafale churn a thrust of 100/150 kN (dry/afterburner) against 79/125 kN (dry/afterburner) thrust of the J-10C.
Is Rafale a superior aircraft? Let’s find out!
The J-10, which has been called a “Firebird” by NATO, is a single-engine, light multirole fighter that can fly in all weather conditions. It was designed for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to carry out strike and air-to-air combat operations.
The J-10 has a large delta wing
it also has two canards right behind the cockpit for increased maneuverability. The armament is identical to that of the MiG-29 and F-16, according to National Interest, with three weapon pylons on each wing and three on the belly.
The J-10C variant, on which the FC-20E is based, is powered by the indigenously developed WS-10 Taihang engine.
In contrast, the Rafale is a twin-engine fighter that can operate from either an aircraft carrier or a land base. All combat aviation missions can be carried out by the fully adaptable Rafale, including air superiority and air defense, close air support, in-depth strikes, reconnaissance, anti-ship strikes, and nuclear deterrent.
The J-10C is powered by China’s homegrown engine, which replaced the Russian AL-31 engine used by previous variants. It employs the PL-15, a dual-stage BVRAAM with a range of 200 kilometers or more, for long-range interception. The PL-15 is also used by the JF-17 Thunder; hence, the J-10C doesn’t add anything new to the table, experts believe.
One major difference between the two aircraft is that, unlike the Rafale that has been used in combat missions in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq and Syria, the J-10C has not faced a real combat situation. Thus, Rafale is not only a battle-tested but also battle-hardened fighter aircraft.