Most experts and netizens said they believe photos posted online of China's J-20 fighter jets show homemade Taihang engines have replaced their Russian-made counterparts.
A report released by thepaper.cn on Wednesday said the new engine is the Taihang based on its appearance on the online photos.
The J-20 used to be outfitted with the Russia-made AL-31F engine, according to the report, but the homemade engines could be mass-produced.
"It is necessary for the J-20 to use homemade engines. This way, the fighter jet will be completely developed and manufactured in China," Huang Jun, a professor at Beihang University, told the Global Times on Thursday.
According to the report, the insufficient supply of the Russian engines could have led to the change, since orders for the homemade engine also come from overseas, while the price of the Russian engine has been increased from $3 million to $ 5 million each.
"The Taihang engine's performance is nearly as good as the AL-31F. However, being new, the Taihang lacks the maturity of the Russian one," said Huang.
The report added it is much more complicated to change the engine of the fourth generation of J-20s than the second and the third one due to adjustments to the fourth generation's air inlet and engine compartment, among others.
The J-20 is expected to undergo another engine change with the homemade WS-15, which is currently being developed, said the report of thepaper.cn.