by WorldTribune Staff, September 5, 2018
Having reportedly worked out the kinks in the J-20’s engine, China is said to be ready to begin mass production of the stealth fighter.
The J-20 engine’s improved power train will enable the Chinese jet to fly undetected at supersonic speeds comparable with the U.S. F-35, the South China Morning Post reported on Sept. 5, citing military sources.
Related: Moscow confirms China’s latest generation fighter copied advanced U.S. technology, January 3, 2017
The J-20 was built based on technologies stolen from the U.S. F-22 and F-35 fifth generation fighter planes, according to U.S. and Russian analysts and reports in Geostrategy-Direct.com
The J-20’s WS-15 engine has been in development for several years but Chinese technicians have struggled to get it into mass production.
The engine problems – which largely related to blades overheating at top speeds – have mostly been solved in ground tests and trial flights, the report said.
“The WS-15 is expected to be ready for widespread installation in the J-20s by the end of this year,” a source told the South China Morning Post, adding that the “minor problems” which remain should be resolved once the engine had been more “extensively run in the aircraft.”
The source added that having “a home-grown engine is a must for the J-20 to enter mass production, as no other country would be prepared to give China such cutting-edge technology.”
Military analyst Zhou Chenming said that China expects the U.S. to deploy between 200 and 300 F-35s in the Asia-Pacific by 2025, which meant “China needs a similar number of J-20s, or at least 200.”
Twelve F-35s arrived at the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena Air Base in Japan in November 2017, while South Korea said it planned to take delivery of 40 of the stealth fighters this year.
China currently has about 20 J-20s. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said that the J-20 entered combat service on Feb. 9 of this year, although the South China Morning Post reported that the fighter jet was deployed with a “stopgap” engine.
State broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported that Chengdu Aerospace Corporation, which manufactures the J-20, is set to open a fourth production line for the stealth fighter in 2019.