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China makes progress in developing alloy for airplane engines

2012/12/21 23:11:19

Taipei, Dec. 21 (CNA) China has made significant progress in manufacturing high temperature alloy used for airplane engines and is capable of mass producing them for its J-20 fighter jets, according Beijing-based China Aviation News, and U.S. experts.

The China Aviation News said a research institute under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China had made breakthroughs in the manufacturing of high temperature alloy, which is the rival of similar material used by international aeronautical industry.

This alloy, accounting for 40-60 percent of the weight of an airplane engine, was called the cornerstone of advanced airplane engines, said the paper.

Before it masters the technology, China had to buy engines from Russia to power its stealth fighter jets such as J-20s and J-31s.

Meanwhile, Andrew Erickson, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and Gabe Collins, an expert in Chinese military affairs, said in an article published by the Diplomat magazine that China will invest 300 billion yuan (US$47.65 billion) over the next three years to build engines for airplanes.

Noting that China is already capable of turning out airplane engines with the same quality as that used on U.S. F-15 fighter jets, they predicted China will be able to mass produce such engines for its J-20 fighter jets in two to five years.

However, other U.S. experts estimate that China is still five to 10 years behind the U.S. in building engines.

(By Maubo Chang)