I watched how the J-10 flew over Zhuhai, in 30 degree Celsius temperatures and high humidity.
The pilot did none of the show tricks like post-stall or tail slide or pitch-back, but turns were very tight, initial rate of turn very high. It was clear there is a lot of potential in this airplane to achieve the same maneuvers more quickly.
The pilot rarely used afterburner and the degrees of canard deflection were small. Still, the airplane flew very well. I reckon it will beat F-16C or MiG-29/SMT easily.
Now, I certainly feel vindicated that a Russian is actually really praising J-10 over Russian fighters. I'm still waiting for more article to come out on J-10 at the moment. I haven't seen anything by Richard Fisher or PKF on this.
The other revealing part about J-10 came out of an interview with Lei Qiang, one of the first J-10 test pilots. He certainly brought a lot of heated exchanges on Chinese bbs by saying that J-10 can do Cobra better than su-27. He also gave an interview with a magazine where he talked about his experiences with J-10. He talked about where J-10 was stronger and weaker. However, one of the more interesting thing that came out was a commentary online regarding Lei Qiang. The writer just talked about how the upper level in PLAAF didn't know how well J-10 would fare against su-27. So they asked Lei Qiang for his assessment. Unlike a more conservative/shy pilot would do, LQ clearly listed the areas that J-10 are better and the areas that su-27 are better. He ended it by saying that he definitely thinks J-10 can dominate su-27. So, they actually took su-27s flied by top pilots from one of the elite units and put it again J-10s flown by test pilots. And J-10 won handily. That is how J-10 project got supported. This man has also flown F-16 and Mirage III in Pakistan. He has also traveled to other country to see the tactics of other country's pilots. Basically, he has had some experience with modern Western fighters and tactics. His comments to PLAAF bosses and then the subsequent performance of J-10 vs su-27 probably ensured the success of the program.
And after the air show, we also heard PAF officials reiterating its desire to purchase about 2 squadrons of J-10. It's hard to say what is the next revelation of this plane. I suppose we will see J-10B's pictures coming out soon. We should also see WS-10A equipped J-10 pictures, although it's not that easy to differentiate that from AL-31FN equipped ones. I will also be waiting eagerly for next generation AAMs and PGMs (some of which were displayed in Zhuhai) equipped on J-10.
Let's take a look at all the PGMs showcased in the airshow and there are a lot of them. A couple of them first appeared in 2006 airshow, but more variants were showcased (from the same series, but just in different weight class). First, the FT series of SGBs. There is even a gliding version in FT-2.
In addition, you can see a video of FT-2/5 in a promotional video here.
Next part are the LGBs and SGBs produced by the maker of LS-6 and LT-2. We see a new 250 kg version of LS-6 + LT-3 that has TV and Laser guidance.
And finally, this is a promotion for LT-2, it shows that LT-2's CEP is 3 m.
And finally, there is another LGB called ZQX-200 produced another manufacturer. It shows that there really is many competitors right now.