China's J-10 Fighter Jet Celebrates Its Birthday Amid Pakistani Parade
(Source: China Military Online; posted March 25, 2019)
China's J-10 fighter jet celebrated its 21th birthday in spectacular fashion with six J-10s dazzling audiences at Pakistan's national day parade on Saturday.

During the parade in Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, the warplanes affiliated with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force completed a series of thrilling aerobatic maneuvers in single, double and six-plane formations, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Sunday.

During the 18-minute performance, the Chinese aircraft released trails of red, yellow, white and green plumes, representing the colors of the national flags of China and Pakistan, winning waves of applause from spectators at the venue with each maneuver, according to a statement the PLA Air Force released on Sunday.

A local broadcaster welcomed the J-10s as they appeared on camera and called the performance "beautiful," in the Chinese language, CCTV reported.

"The China-Pakistan friendship is higher than the Himalayas, deeper than the oceans, sweeter than honey, and stronger than iron," the Pakistani broadcaster opined.

Pakistani weapons developed by China or co-developed by China and Pakistan including the JF-17 and F-7PG fighter jets, the Al-Khalid main battle tank and FM-90 and LY-80 air defense missiles also appeared in the parade, according to media reports.

The J-10's performance in Pakistan coincided with the 21th anniversary of the aircraft's maiden flight on March 23, 1998, CCTV reported.

The successful first flight of the J-10 marked China becoming the fifth country in the world to be capable of independently developing a third, or in other commonly used classification systems, a fourth-generation fighter, the report said.

"The development of the J-10 has provided vast invaluable experience for China's future fighter jets," an anonymous military expert told the Global Times on Sunday.

During China's program to develop the J-10 fighter jet, Song Wencong, the J-10's chief designer who passed away in 2016, mentored the young Yang Wei who later became the chief designer of the J-20, China Aviation News reported.

"Song's contribution was not just about a single plane, it was about the development of the entire industrial system," Yang said.

The J-10 has seen improved versions since the original, including a technical demonstrator installed with a thrust vector control system that could be installed on the J-20 stealth fighter jet in the future, the anonymous expert said.

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