China is planning to equip J-20 stealth fighter jets with home-made engines that incorporate Powder Metallurgy superalloy turbine disks.
China intends to replace the current Russia-produced Saturn AL-31F engines between 2018 and 2019, China Topix reported today.
Powder Metallurgy superalloy turbine disks will permit J-20's engine to operate amid extreme temperatures.
A senior scientist for Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) reportedly said that the development of locally produced engines with single crystal superalloy turbine blades and PM superalloy turbine disks is underway.
"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," Chen Xiangbao, an AECC official, said.
Meanwhile, China's J-20 stealth fighter has recently been put into service under the People's Liberation Army Air Force. Noting that mass production is still a challenge as "quality is not very satisfactory," Chen said China still has a long way to go in terms of developing and producing world-class, cutting-edge aviation engines.
"The road to success is filled with setbacks and failures. Each of the world's engine powers has walked this road," he noted.
China's J-20 stealth fighter is also configured with four extra massive auxiliary fuel tanks under its wings. Although cumbersome, the extra fuel tanks allow the aircraft to recapture a bigger degree of its low observability and could be used to boost kinematic performance.
It will also allow the aircraft to loiter for longer periods and serve as a sensor node or 'quarterback' for other Chinese jets.