Saturday, September 13, 2008

Zhuhai airshow + engines

So, we finally got a slight peak at what will be shown in Zhuhai airshow 2008. If you check Aviation Now, you will find this piece
日前,珠海机场获息,国产重要机型都将亮相本届珠海航展,其中部分有:3架歼-10(J-10)、2架歼-8B、1架轰油6、1架飞豹A。据了解,歼-10其中一架进行飞行表演,另外2架静态展示。轰油6将在此次航展进行空中加油表演。(张宝鑫 张艳)

The list above includes 3 J-10s (one doing flight demonstration and the other 2 are just for display), 2 J-8B, 1 HU-6 and 1 JH-7A. Also, the HU-6 will conduct in-flight refueling with I presume J-10 and J-8B. Of course, we should expect the usual suspects like JF-17, L-15, JL-9, UAVs, ARJ-21, MA-60, but J-10 will be the star of the show.

The other big news coming out in the past day is Guizhou Liyang's announcement of a new engine project. The article is posted below. It basically tells us that WS-13 (aka Taishan) finished the 300 hour long duration test at the end of the last year. And also mentioning the launch of the new engine. At this point, they could either be talking about WS-12 (aka Tianshan) or another turbofan engine in this weight class that is a generation ahead. So, it would be in the class of EJ-200/F414-EDE.

I know that the engine development situation in China is kind of confusing, so I will just look at the major engine makers and what they are working on.

Guizhou Liyang
Currently makes the WP-7 series and WP-13 series for J-7s. Due to the number of J-7, JJ-7s and JL-9s in PLAAF, this is probably the mostly used engine at the current time. It is developing WS-13 for JF-17. The project is obviously getting close to the original design certification. It will soon be able to fly with JF-17. The project that was mentioned here, which may or may not be WS-12.

Shenyang Liming
This one is most well known for its WS-10A (Taihang) and WP-14 (Kunlun) series engines. Since J-8II, J-10 and J-11B are the elite forces in PLAAF, we'd expect Liming to be doing pretty well in the coming years. At the current time WS-10A still has yet to receive production certification, but that should come in the next 2 years. It will then be considered mature. At the same time, Liming is also developing improved versions of Taihang and Kunlun. In the case of improved Taihang, it will be comparable to the improved AL-31FM series engines and be the main power plant of Chinese aircrafts. There are rumours that Liming will develop a more advanced version to compete for PLAAF's 5th generation jets. In the world of gas turbines, Liming has developed QC/D-128, QC/D-70, QC/D-168, QC/D-185 and QC/D-260 based on Taihang and Kunlun. So, it has also managed to corner the PLAN market.

Xi'an aircraft engine maker
At the current time, XAE is most well known for its WP-8 and WS-9 engines. Both are in full production mode (WS-9 just passed production certification this year) for aircraft built by XAC. Although, H-6K is using D-30KP2, so WP-8 is probably only used for replacements now. With the success of JH-7 series aircraft, WS-9 will still be in hot demand. More importantly, the WS-15 is well under way in XAE. This will be the future of Chinese aircraft engines. It is the only well known 5th generation aircraft engine project for China until this recent Liyang news.

608 Institute
This institute develops the remaining major item engines. It currently builds WS-11 series engine for K-8 and have received the ToT for licensed production of the AI-222-25K. It is also developing WZ-9 for the Z=10 helicopter and WZ-10 for future Chinese helicopters like the 10 tonne helo (or maybe even future Z=10 and Z-15). There are also some mysterious pieces on 608 in the past. This quote below discloses that they developed a turbojet that has already been tested with a plane. It's still unclear what this plane is, although people suspect it's a CAS aircraft replacing Q-5. It talks about developing a motor for UAV and starting certification flight for WZ-9. Looks like 608 has the future PLA helicopter and trainer/attacker market cornered.



Finally, there are the WS-150 (or maybe WS-200), WS-500 and WS-850. These are the engines being developed for cruise missiles and small UAVs. I really wasn't able to find which specific factory designs and produces them.

So, that's a rundown on the Chinese engine makers for everyone.


Dlhh said...

Thanks for the updates.

The aircraft engine development is confusing with so little news out in the open and worse even the news that is givens give so little proper analysis on the state of technology level or what needs to be done to reach world class level.

Most of the time, it says how hard the engineers have to work to reach a certain level. Wonder when China will reach a maturity in its reporting.

Dlhh said...

You also mentioned a turbojet engine for a replacement aircraft for the Q-5. Why would the PLA accept turbojet engines when most of the air forces are using turbofans?

If its a new aircraft design being developed, its illilogical to use old engine technology!

Feng said...

turbojet is simpler I guess. For less advanced companies, it will be easier to develop and mass produce this kind of engine. I don't think they are too concerned with the shorter range factor