USAF chief checks out J-10 fighter

Straight from the “now that’s something you don’t see every day” files, here’s an image showing US Air Force chief of staff Gen Mark Welsh sitting in the cockpit of a Chinese combat aircraft.

Before any red phones start ringing hot, no, he hasn’t defected as a result of sequestration cuts or the government shutdown in Washington DC, but was on a good-will visit of several locations in China when he tried out a Chengdu J-10 cockpit for size. Pictured at the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s Nanyuan air base in this USAF shot, the aircraft in question looks to be in the livery of the service’s aerobatic display team, rather than being a frontline fighter. All the same, it’s pretty extraordinary to see.

USAF chief in J-10

“Airmen understand airmen and the value of airpower,” says Welsh in a statement. The first USAF leader to visit China in 15 years, he adds: “Our relationship with the PLAAF is important for many reasons, and we look forward to working to strengthen it together.”

Other locations visited by Welsh and other senior officials between 24 September and 1 October included Beijing, Hangzhou and Hong Kong, the USAF says.

Despite the positive noises being made following their get-together, I reckon PLAAF commander Gen Ma Xiaotian probably shouldn’t be expecting to get into the seat of an F-22 Raptor any time soon.

In case you haven’t seen it already on our FG Club site, Dave Majumdar’s update of the USAF’s F-22 upgrade activities and intentions is essential reading. You can login to read it here, or register for free to get access.

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3 Responses to USAF chief checks out J-10 fighter

  1. Mountain Navy 9 October, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Chinese already have stolen the F-22…probably has a full simulator for his kids at home!

  2. jetcal1 9 October, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    I wonder if this will follow the post-Glasnost road and result in a visit to the states for some airshows and a few journalist rides. That would be a good read. Flight Global have any volunteers?

  3. Craig Hoyle 9 October, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

    No shortage of volunteers for a J-10 flight, if offered: would be an interesting “editorial meeting” (punch-up, more like) between myself, Dave Majumdar and Greg Waldron, plus test pilot Pete Collins. Maybe not as crazy as it appears; I’ve seen Chinese folks at the last two RIAT shows in the UK, including in the poshest pavilion.

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