China’s J-20 stealth fighter jet is set to receive locally produced engines that incorporate Powder Metallurgy superalloy turbine disks, reports China Daily. The jet currently relies on Russian-produced engines, but China plans to replace these with its own designed and built engines by 2018-2019.
The use of Powder Metallurgy superalloy turbine disks will allow the J-20’s engines to operate at extreme temperatures. A senior scientist for Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) is reported to have said that development is underway on domestically produced engines featuring single crystal superalloy turbine blades as well as PM superalloy turbine disks.
“The engine’s development is proceeding well. We also have begun to design a next-generation aviation engine with a thrust-to-weight ratio that is much higher than that of current types,” stated Chen Xiangbao, an official with AECC.
The J-20 stealth fighter is produced by Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, and currently relies on Russian-produced engines. Russia, alongside the US, is one of the top jet engine producers globally. Chinese scientists and engineers have been reported to be working on solutions for local engine production since the 1990s, with the company’s aerospace industry lagging behind global development of cutting-edge aviation engines.
Due to the secrecy surrounding China’s efforts to develop modern fighter jets in line with modern technology, little more is known about the status of the J-20’s development, though Tang Changhong, Chief Designer of China’s Y-20 transport plane and member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, told West China City Daily that the Y-20 will be equipped with domestically developed engines between 2018-2019. It is expected that the J-20 stealth fighter will receive its own locally produced engines during the same period.