It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
China rushed its first advanced stealth fighter jet into service ahead of schedule last year, using stopgap engines, in the face of rising security challenges in the region, the South China Morning Post has learned.
But that means its capabilities will be severely limited, affecting its manoeuvrability and fuel efficiency as well as its stealthiness at supersonic speeds.
However, the aircraft was equipped with inferior engines designed for earlier warplanes when it first joined the air force in March last year because “critical problems” with its tailor-made WS-15 engine, exposed by an accident in 2015, had not been fixed, two independent military sources told the Post.
“The WS-15 engine designed for the J-20 exploded during a ground running test in 2015,” one source said, adding that no one was injured in the accident.
“The explosion indicated the WS-15 is not reliable, and so far there is no fundamental solution to overcome such a problem … that’s why the J-20 is using WS-10B engines now.”
The WS-10B is a modified version of the WS-10 Taihang engine, which was designed for the country’s fourth-generation J-10 and J-11 fighters.
The explosion was confirmed by another source close to the military, who said the reasons it happened were complicated, with one being the quality control of its single-crystal turbine blades, the key component for such a powerful turbofan engine.
The Chinese, otoh, always struggle when it comes to engineering new ideas and solutions, but they have the money and manufacturing ability to crank out just about anything they can get their hands on the plans for.
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: GrumpyBollocks
As far as engines go, we're on the verge of making several advances that will put us even farther ahead, and will be difficult to go from where they are, to where we're about to be without the intermediate steps.
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.