A new and improved engine designed to make China’s J-20 stealth fighter a world-class combat jet should be ready for mass production by the end of the year, military sources have said.
The WS-15 engine features cutting-edge single-crystal turbine blades and has been in development for several years, but Chinese technicians have struggled to get it into mass production.
However, many of the problems – which largely related to blades overheating at top speeds – have been ironed out in ground tests and trial flights, putting the goal of a consistently high-quality product in sight, sources told the South China Morning Post.
Beijing is keen to have a stealth aircraft capable of competing with the best in the world as tensions rise in the Asia-Pacific and the United States ramps up deployment of its F-22 and F-35 fighters in the region.
“The WS-15 is expected to be ready for widespread installation in the J-20s by the end of this year,” one of the sources said. Although some “minor problems” remained, these should be resolved once the engine had been more “extensively run in the aircraft”, the source said. (end of excerpt)
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