Procurement: Ukraine Feeds The Chinese War Machine

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August 27, 2011: China is buying 250 AI-222 jet engines, for its JL-15 trainer, from Ukrainian firm Motor Sich. This is an extension of an earlier program that had Motor Sich supplying AI-25 engines for the older K-8 trainer. The new, 9.5 ton, twin engine JL-15 can achieve supersonic speeds, and has the kind of high-tech cockpit found in modern fighters. The JL-15 was designed to be produced in two versions; advanced trainer, and initial fighter trainer. This would smooth the transition to high end aircraft like the J-10 (similar to the F-16) and J-11 (a Su-27 clone).

Also known as the JL-8, the K-8 uses the 350 kg (770 pound), 3.1 meter (9.5 foot) long AI-25TLK (3,300 pounds of thrust) jet engines, to power the 4.3 ton, two seat aircraft. Originally, China was going to use 3,600 pound thrust American engines, but after the brutal 1989 Chinese crackdown on pro-democracy groups, the United States cut off the supply of engines.

The AI-222 is a 5,500 pound thrust engine that is more compact and somewhat heavier than the AI-25.

 


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