China to invest 10 billion yuan in aircraft engines

J-20 fighter prototype, to be powered by Chinese engines once in operation. (Source: chinesemilitaryreview.blogspot.com)

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has launched a long-term three-part plan up to2030 to develop advanced aviation engines. AVIC Engine Holdings has allocated 10 billion yuan, or €1.2 billion, for R&D in the first phase of the plan, which runs until 2015. Interestingly, this figure is identical to the what Lin Zuomin, president of AVIC, announced in April 2011. The plan is targeted at catching up with advanced aircraft engine manufacturing countries.

“During the first phase, which will conclude by the end of 2015 if everything goes well, we will strive to ensure our air force’s aircraft be equipped with proper engines and to lift our development capability to that of the developed countries’ level in the 1980s. The second phase will witness us substantially narrowing the technological gap between developed countries and us. And by the end of the last phase, our engines will be as advanced as theirs”, according to Zhang Jian, deputy general manager of AVIC Engine Holdings.

China’s current inability to domestically mass-produce modern high-performance jet engines at a consistently high-quality standard has proven to be an obstacle for the development and production of tactical aircraft. It is interesting to note that the plan specifically mentions applications for the air force (and business jets, although developed by a different AVIC subsidiary), whereas no mention is made of C919 commercial airliner. AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co. is tasked with the development of a Chinese powerplant for this aircraft.

More details can be found here. Also, read our earlier post on domestic engine development here.

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