China: Major Breakthrough for Mass Production of J-20 in Developing its Engines

Major breakthrough in developing the engine for J-20

Major breakthrough in developing the engine for J-20

US and Russian medias speculate that China has made breakthrough once more in developing WS-15 engine, which will very possibly be used on J-20 fighter jets.

Military experts point out if such speculation is true, China will entirely be free from its dependence on Russian engines in series production of its J-20 fighter jets and be able to rapidly build up a stealth fighter force

According to US media, at present J-20 has by and large stabilized its performance. If the performance of WS-15 engine is acceptable to Chinese aviation engine industry, China will have thus made a great breakthrough for series production of its J-20 fighters.

According to a Russian military website, in 1996, China obtained from Russia the technology and a sample of R-79-300 engine developed for Yak-141 VTOL fighter jet, a project that Russia had to give up for lack of funds at that time.

Surprisingly, China has used R-79-300’s technology in successful development of its own WS-15 series of turbofans.

According to Russian media, China’s homegrown WS-15 engine has a maximum thust of 161.86 KN (with afterburner on and 105.22 KN when afterburner is off), a bypass ratio of 0.382, pressure coefficient of 28.71, temperature before turbin of 1447K, maximum diameter of 1.02 meters, length of 5.05 meters and total weight of 1,862 kg. The engine is equipped with an advanced FADEC system. Experts believe that with its success in developing WS-15 engine, China is reducing its disparity with Europe, US and Russia in developing modern military jet engines.

Sources: “Major breakthrough in developing engines for J-20 shocks the West” and “Russian military industrialists gasp in admiration at the way China resolved engine problem for J-20” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the reports in Chinese)

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  • 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 dated February 28, 2013
  • China Remains Depending on Russia for Its J-15’s Engines dated November 6, 2013
  • China Buys USD700 Million Russian Aircraft Engines dated November 15, 2013