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China has a shortfall of jet engines

Apropos of the engine problems on the Long March 5, it is reported today that China has a serious manufacturing shortage of the jet engines it needs for its new stealth fighters and bombers.

Aviation website Alert 5 spotted a stock-exchange filing by the Hebei subsidiary of China’s Central Iron & Steel Research Institute. The filing including production projections for military engines for the next decade, and reveals some startling shortfalls. Production and development gaps could result in the latest Chinese warplanes flying with older engine models, including imported Russian motors that might be underpowered and unreliable. The mismatch between airframes and engines could be a drag on the overall performance of Chinese military aircraft.

Perhaps the biggest shortfall is in the production of WS-15s and WS-19s, the custom motors respectively for J-20 stealth fighters and FC-31 export stealth fighters. “Data provided by Hebei Cisri Dekai Technology Co. Ltd. shows a maximum of only five WS-15 and WS-19 engines each year from 2020 ‘til 2026,” Alert 5 reported.

Apparently China will be flying these jets and bombers using inadequate Russian engines for the next five to eight years, as the country’s own industry seems unable to make them.

Conscious Choice cover

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  • Col Beausabre

    Don’t worry, US firms will plug the gap. Anything for a buck….Remember those stories of US troops being hit by Japanese shells that had “Made in USA” stamped on them? (almost assuredly a legend, but it expresses the disgust the average Joe and Jill had with the pre-Pearl Harbor”business as usual” types). Look at the way US firms kowtow to Chinese censorship so they can make a buck in a dictatorship. Yes, I’m looking at you, NBA

  • commodude

    That’s a redux of a story from WW1, where British sailors were killed by shells from German guns which had patent marks from British manufacturers on them. I don’t have the precise reference in front of me, however, IIRC, Tuchman covered it in “The Proud Tower” and Furguson goes over it in “The Pity of War”.

  • commodude

    As to US companies supplying enemies with critical tech advancements…..Loral, Toshiba, Cisco…..We kept first the Soviet and now the Chinese tech bases alive and competitive.

  • While your cynicism about American business has been justified many times, in the case of China don’t expect it. It is by law illegal for American companies to do this kind of work with China.

  • Jay

    Your statement reminds me of the 007 movie “A View To A Kill”, at the end-
    General Anatol Gogol:
    [Bond has just received the Order of Lenin from General Gogol] The order of Lenin, for Comrade Bond. The first ever non-Soviet citizen to receive this award.

    I’d thought the KGB would have celebrated if Silicon Valley had been destroyed.

    General Anatol Gogol:
    On the contrary, Admiral, where would Russian research be without it?

  • M Puckett

    Thanks to ITAR Robert.

    I would argue though in some ways, the cure was worse than the disease. An over-reaching over-reaction to the failures of the Clinton administration.

  • David

    Jet engines is one place where the Chinese still lag behind. There were lots of triumphal articles when they had ws15s ready to install in production aircraft. But I’m not surprised to hear that they can’t make many yet. But I assume they’ll ramp up quicker than the linked article suggests.

  • commodude

    It was illegal for Toshiba to transfer 5 axis lathe tech to the Soviets…..but they did.

    Loral’s tech transfer to China SHOULD have been illegal….but wasn’t.

    Cisco transferred root legacy code to China as part of the deal to build plants there.

    Boeing has transferred dual use tech to China in order to manufacture cheap aircraft assemblies:

    The outright transfer of jet engines may be banned but the transfer of metallurgy technology, missile tech, and high tech production and assembly has continued unabated.

  • pzatchok

    Don’t think of this as an underproduction of engines but rather an overproduction of air-frames.

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