China’s $16 Billion Ambition to Develop the Best Aircraft Engines in the World

Engine for VTOL aircraft

Engine for VTOL aircraft

In my post “China nears approval of $16 billion domestic jet-engine plan Xinhua” on February 28, 2013, I pointed out that China will soon approve its plan of heavy investment in aircraft engines.

The injection of huge fund and Chinese scientists and engineers’ enthusiasm to realize their China dream enable China to achieve fast development of its advanced aircraft engines and soon surpass the United States.

For example, Both Russian and US medias speculate that China has made breakthrough in developing WS-15 engine for its stealth fighter jet J-20 so that the fighter will be able to use China-made engines to be free of its dependence on Russian engines.

It is said that WS-15 is the core of China’s SF-A engine with a thrust 28,700 lb, which if used in J-20 heavy stealth fighter will make it surpass the US in power and maneuverability.

Moreover, as China imported Russian Yak-141 VTOL technology, the WS-15 will have a curved nozzle to enable it to take off and land vertically at a short distance so that J-20 will be China’s next generation of carrier-based fighter jets.

However, China’s ambition does not stop here.

It has developed WS-20 engine with a thrust-to-weight ratio above 9 for its Y-20 large transport aircraft and WS-118 (also known as WS-20 or CJ-2000) engine with a thrust of 26,500 lb that has already been used on its J-10 and J-11B fighter jets. Research and development has begun for a new generation of medium-thrust engine with thrust-to-weight ratio exceeding 9. Preparations are being made for test flight of the aircraft installed with WS-15 fourth-generation engine with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 10.

Test flight of its aircrafts using an improved version of Taihang Engine will be conducted in the coming few years to provide power for China’s new generation of stealth drones, stealth attack drones, long-range drones and manned long-range stealth bombers. At the same time preliminary research has begun in developing an improved fourth-generation military engine with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 12.

As the best US engine F-119-PW-100 used by F-22 stealth fighter jet has only a thrust-to-weight ratio of 8, the above engines Chins is developing fully indicate China’s ambition to surpass the United States.

Engines for civil aircraft are not neglected. An engine with a trust of 30,000 lb is being developed in Shenyang not only for large military transport but also for C-919 large airliner China is developing.

Source: “Curved nozzle technology for J-20 fighter’s engine will make the fighter a VTOL one in the future” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese”

Related posts:

  • China Buys USD700 Million Russian Aircraft Engines dated November 15, 2013
  • China nears approval of $16 billion domestic jet-engine plan Xinhua dated February 28, 2013
  • China’s Aviation Industry’s Serious Bottleneck: Lack of Powerful Engine dated December 5, 2012

China nears approval of $16 billion domestic jet-engine plan: Xinhua

China’s cabinet may soon approve an aircraft engine development program that will require investment of at least 100 billion yuan ($16 billion), state-run Xinhua news agency quoted unidentified industry sources as saying.

China is determined to reduce its dependency on foreign companies like Boeing Co (BA.N), EADS-owned Airbus (EAD.PA), General Electric Co (GE.N) and Rolls Royce Plc (RR.L) for the country’s soaring demand for planes and engines.

So far the domestic aerospace industry has failed to build a reliable, high-performance jet engine to end its dependence on Russian and Western makers for equipping its military and commercial aircraft.

Xinhua on Thursday quoted an unidentified professor at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) with knowledge of the project as saying the investment would be used mainly for research on technology, designs and materials related to aircraft engine manufacturing.

The project was going through approval procedures in the State Council and may be approved shortly, the professor was quoted as saying.

Participants in the project include Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group Corp, AVIC Xi’an Aero-Engine (Group) Ltd (600893.SS) and research institutes including the BUAA, Xinhua reported.

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country’s dominant military and commercial aviation contractor, had lobbied the government to back a multi-billion dollar plan to build a high-performance jet engine.

China’s military and aerospace industries have suffered from bans on the sale of military equipment imposed by Western governments after the Tiananmen Square crackdown and foreign engine-makers are reluctant to transfer costly technology.

Some Chinese aviation industry specialists forecast Beijing will eventually spend up to 300 billion yuan ($49 billion) on jet-engine development over the next two decades.

Source: Reiters “China nears approval of $16 billion domestic jet-engine plan: Xinhua”