Warplanes: China Wins A Big One


January 3, 2010:  The Chinese Air Force is satisfied enough with its locally made WS10A jet engine, to put it into production. This can be seen from that fact that the WS10A is now powering some of their J-11B fighters. Originally, the J-11 used a Russian AL-31F engine, but China has been working for a decade to manufacture their own version of this, the WS10A.

The WS10A is something of an acid test for China, as it is a powerful military engine, and a complex piece of work. Russia refused to license China to produce the AL-31F, so the Chinese stole as much of the technology as they could and designed the WS10A. This engine was tested, and officially approved for production, several years ago, but kept running into quality control and performance problems. The WS10A may still not be as reliable as the AL-31F, but it's good enough to equip fighters in regular service. That's a major victory for Chinese industry, as only half a dozen countries can produce high-end jet fighter engines, and now China is one of them.



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