China to Make 500 J-20Bs with Homegrown Powerful WS-15 Vector Engines

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency says in its report on December 24 that China will build 500 J-20B, more than the future total number of other fifth-generation fighter jets in Asian Pacific.

In its report, the agency quotes Hong Kong military commentator Leung Kwok-leung’s December-24 article on Mingpao that speeding up the deployment of J-20s is China’s set strategic goal.

J-20B is an improved version of J-20 installed with China’s new homegrown powerful WS-15 Emei turbofans. China has already developed WS-15 all-direction vector turbofan with thrust-weight ratio of 10. The turbofan is now undergoing intensive tests and will be ready to be installed in J-20B by 2019, an improved version of J-20.

Leung’s article quotes Xu Yongling, China’s chief test pilot, as saying in the past, “China’s future principal fighter jet J-20 will be formally commissioned in 2017. The number deployed will be close to 100.”

There has recently been information from external sources that China will deploy 4 air regiments of J-20 fighter jets within a short period of time. There are 96 fighter jets in 4 regiments, close to the 100 disclosed by Xu. According to China’s production capacity, it takes less than 3 years for China to build so many J-20s.

The article says that China now has two J-20 production lines, one producing J-20 with Russian AL-31 engines and the other producing J-20A installed with China’s WS-10B Taihang engines.

Russia has developed 99M1 to 99M4 improved versions of AL-31F, but China has also developed improved versions of WS-10 WS-10A and WS-10B better than Russian ones with thrust-weight ratio of 9 than Russia’s 8 and longer life of 1,500 hours than 800 hours of the old version.

It is said that a third production line has recently gone into operation to produce J-20A. As each line makes one J-20 a month, their combined production capacity will be 36 a year.

The article discloses that by the end of 2019, there will be a fourth J-20 production line for trial production of J-20B using China’s homegrown WS-15 Emei turbofans.

Due to the use of WS-15, J-20B’s cruise speed will be Mach 1.8 and maximum speed exceeds Mach 2.2, equal to those of US F-22. China will produce 500 J-20B, more than the future total number of other fifth-generation fighter jets in Asia-Pacific.

The article points out that recently the appearance of 4 J-20s with serial numbers from 78271 to 78274 have been disclosed on the Internet. Such serial numbers are PLA air force’s numbers. All those J-20s have low visibility coating.

In addition TerraServer took a satellite photo on November 17 of two J-20s at Dingxin Air Force Base in Jiuquan City, Gansu Province. The J-20s were obviously taking part in the annual large-scale “Red Sword” combined drill in November. The drill is the largest-scale real war air force combined drill so far in the world. The photo proves that J-20 will soon be deployed for real war.

Source: “Taiwan media: Mainland will build 500 J-20Bs exceeding the total number of fifth-generation fighter jets in Asia-Pacific” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


2 Comments on “China to Make 500 J-20Bs with Homegrown Powerful WS-15 Vector Engines”

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