This Rare Cockpit Video Of Chinese Fighter Pilots Dogfighting Offers Unique Insights

The video shows J-10 pilots going at it in air-to-air combat up-close and personal while speaking English and using western brevity codes.

Youtube Screencap

In-cockpit footage of actual air combat training always makes great viewing, however, a new video offers rare insight into Chinese fighter operations making it even more engaging. This intense clip posted online by China’s People’s Daily newspaper shows People’s Liberation Army Air Force pilots turning and burning in Chengdu J-10 multi-role fighters.

The full version of the video can be seen here. Without the overdubbed music, the English communications are easy to hear.

The People’s Daily Twitter post states: “The Northern Theater Command brigade in the video is known for its notable combat record, having shot down or damaged 67 warplanes in the Korean War against the US.”

The full video seems to include some stock footage, but the main in-cockpit sequences appear to have been shot from inside two-seat J-10AS variants, the combat-capable training version of the original J-10A. This would indicate that the aircraft depicted are from the 34th Air Brigade based at Qihe, in Shandong province. This base comes under China’s Northern Theater Command (NTC) and is home to the 34th Air Brigade, which is the only unit equipped with both the J-10A and AS versions within this command.

One of the most interesting aspects of the footage is that it apparently confirms Chinese fighter pilots use English to communicate in these kinds of engagements, unless the words have been overdubbed on the footage. It has long been thought that PLAAF fighter pilots use English, but it has never been officially confirmed.

The pilots in this clip use radio callsigns “Jaeger 1 and 2” and common air combat language, such as “tally,” which means they have made visual contact with the other aircraft, and "Fox 2" which means firing a close-range heat-seeking missile. 

Also of note in the video is the overlay of a situational display and head-up display, albeit with some critical information being obscured. In addition, a forward-facing camera has the aircraft’s main console similarly obscured.

All told, even in this short clip, there is plenty of interesting information to be observed, as well as some good old-fashioned air-to-air adrenaline and exuberance as J-10 pilots train together and hone their “dogfighting” skills.

Youtube Screencap

Contact the author: Jamie@thedrive.com