Among the new systems displayed at AirshowChina this year was the J-10B TVC testbed (tail #1034) that astounded the crowd with outstanding maneuvers enabled by its thrust vector controlled nozzle (TVC) system. This new nozzle elevates the Chinese fighter from an average 4GEN fighter to a level of ‘super maneuverable’ jet seen only with much more powerful and advanced Su-27/30 class aircraft.
This performance is derived from the combination of the J-10’s canards and new TVC enabled the pilot to perform extreme maneuvers on the flight demonstration over Zhuhai. The maneuvers included tight vertical loops, a slow high angle-of-attack roll, a cobra maneuver, and the falling leaf, the ‘cobra’ and flat turns almost instantly point the nose in 270 and 180 degrees.
Unlike the twin-engine TVC equipped fighters such as Su-27, Su-30, and MiG-29, that uses 2D nozzle control, the J-10B TVC nozzles’ has a 3D control that enables the fighter’s maneuvers even with a single engine. To be meaningful in combat such maneuvers must be supported by a powerful engine – the J-10B TVC testbed is likely powered by an advanced version of the indigenous Shenyang WS-10 engine equipped with a hinged nozzle.