The Chinese J-20 fighter flew with a domestic engine for the first time in public this week, according to multiple media.
Two of Chengdu Aerospace Corporation’s planes performed aerobatic maneuvers at the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Expo in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province, World time reported.
Colonel Li Jikuan, flight performance commander of the J-20, revealed the development at a press conference. CNN identified the engine like the WS-10 developed by the Chinese to replace the Russian engines fitted to the previous J-20s.
Should improve the performance of the aircraft
Chinese military experts World time said the development will “significantly” improve the production and performance of the aircraft.
A commentator, Zhang Xuefeng, said the new engine “is likely to provide more powerful thrust to the J-20, which will help it continue to maneuver in combat and also in supersonic cruise.”
He added that the engine’s serrated nozzles will improve the aircraft’s stealth function, “since such a design can reflect radar waves at certain tight angles, which will reduce the detection range of hostile radar on the J-20.” .
China first flew the twin-engine aircraft in 2011. It was initially powered by the WS-10B, a variant of the WS-10 engine, as an interim measure. The plane then Between production at the end of 2015, equipped with the Russian Saturn AL-31F engine.
In January, South China Morning Post reported that the country would start replacing the aircraft’s Russian engine with the WS-10C engine. The outlet also revealed that although the government has decided to use the local engine, there is still a temporary choice for the aircraft.
WS-15 Unsatisfactory performance
Referring to the engine originally planned to replace the Russian variant, the newspaper quoted a military source as saying: âThe use of the WS-10C to replace Russian engines was caused by the failure of the WS-15 to pass its final evaluation. in 2019. “
“Air Force not happy with final results [of WS-15], requiring engine technicians to modify it until it meets all standards, âsaid the source, who requested anonymity. He added that the People’s Liberation Army Air Force’s (PLAAF) long-term goal is to have an engine “matching the F119 engine used by the US F-22 Raptor.”
Russian pressure to buy the Su-35
Although the domestically-made engine is called as good as the Russian engine, the PLAAF is in a hurry to replace the Russian engine. According to the insider, this is due to Moscow’s insistence that Beijing buy its Su-35 fighter jet despite Chinese reluctance.
“It is impossible for China to rely on the Russian engine because Russia has asked China to buy more Su-35 fighter jets in exchange for agreements on the AL-31F engine,” he said. he declared.
“The key issue is – with the exception of its longer combat range advantage – the Su-35’s radar, navigation system, and other electronics are inferior to Chinese planes like the J-16 attack fighter. . “
Pandemic hindrance process
During the development of the WS-15 engine, the source told the newspaper that the pandemic hampered the modification process last year.
The outlet wrote that even the WS-10C engine would not be installed in the latest J-20B aircraft, which went into mass production in June of last year, as testing is expected to take at least a year.
The WS-10C is a modified version of the WS-10 engine used in the country’s fourth generation J-10 and J-11.
Despite obstacles in the development of the WS-15, Chinese military aviation expert Andreas Rupprecht Recount Global flight that the native WS-10C is a “major breakthrough” as it will reduce Chinese dependence on Russian engines.