China has completed design and development stage of its home-grown turbine-based combined cycle (TBCC) engine system and has entered the aircraft-engine integration test phase.
An article published by the WeChat account of Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute, a design facility of the Chengdu Aircraft Industrial Co, last Thursday said the TBCC engine flight test project is led by the institute's chief architect Wang Haifeng, who also led key national defense projects, such as the development of the J-20 and J-10 fighter jets, Global Times reported Monday.
The TBCC engine combines a turbine and a scramjet engine, which offers an ideal single-engine solution to achieving the shift from low speed to hypersonic speed, Liu Xingzhou, a Chinese ramjet engine expert was quoted by the news daily as saying.
The TBCC engine will allow the aircraft to fly at speeds of up to Mach 6, which means five to six times faster than the speed of sound, said Wei Xudong, a Beijing-based military analyst.
The TBCC engine, which is bigger and more expensive than traditional ones, is primarily used in hypersonic cruise missiles and unmanned aircraft, including supersized reconnaissance drones and pilotless bombers, since no human could stand long periods of hypersonic flights, Wei said.
Wei also stressed that once the TBCC engine technology matures, missiles outfitted with it will be impossible to intercept.