CHINA TOPIX

Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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China's J-20 Stealth Fighter Jet to use Homegrown Engines Soon

China's J-20 will soon feature a locally made aircraft engine.

(Photo : YouTube) China's J-20 will soon feature a locally made aircraft engine.

China's latest stealth fighter jet, the Chengdu J-20, will soon be equipped with a locally developed engine, although mass production of key technologies is a challenge, a senior scientist from Aero Engine Corp of China said.

"It will not take a long time for our fifth-generation combat plane to have China-made engines," Chen Xiangbao, vice-president of the AECC Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials, told China Daily.

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He said that the engine development process is going well. They are also designing a next-generation aviation engine equipped with a thrust-to-weight ratio (a key indicator of an aviation engine's capability) that is higher than the current models.

Chen's comment on the progress is quite contradictory, Flight Global noted.

Chen said that China has already developed two key components of an advanced engine, namely, the single crystal superalloy turbine blades and powder metallurgy superalloy turbine disks. Both technologies will allow the fighter engines to operate even at extreme temperatures. However, he also noted that mass production is still a challenge, saying that "quality is not very satisfactory."

China's J-20 stealth fighter has recently been put into service under the People's Liberation Army Air Force. However, the plane is apparently still utilizing an unknown version of Russia's Saturn AL-31F engine, because of China's lack of a suitable indigenous engine. Chen also admitted that China's still has a long way to go in terms of developing and producing world-class, cutting-edge aviation engines.

"The road to success is filled with setbacks and failures. Each of the world's engine powers has walked this road," he said.

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