Unable to copy it, China tries building own jet engine
(Reuters) - China has designed nuclear missiles and blasted astronauts into space, but one vital technology remains out of reach. Despite decades of research and development, China has so far failed to build a reliable, high performance jet engine.
This may be about to change. China's aviation sector is striving for a breakthrough that would end its dependence on Russian and Western power plants for military and commercial aircraft.Beijing is evaluating a 100 billion yuan plan to galvanize a disjointed and under-funded engine research effort, aviation industry officials say
The giant, state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China AVIC.L, China's dominant military and commercial aviation contractor, has been lobbying hard for the extra money, officials familiar with the details say.AVIC, with more than 400,000 employees and 200 subsidiaries including 20 listed companies
, has already set aside about 10 billion yuan of its own funds for jet engine development over the next three years.
The engine financing plan is under high-level discussion in Beijing, said Zhao Yuxing, an official at the securities office of Shanghai-listed Xi'an Aero-Engine Plc (600893.SS), a key military engine-making unit of AVIC. "What we know is our company has been included in the strategic programme, which is designed to greatly develop and support the engine industry," he said by phone from his company's headquarters in the northwestern city of Xi'an.
China's military industry as a whole has suffered from Tiananmen-era bans on the sale of military equipment from the United States and Europe. Moreover, foreign engine-makers have been loath to transfer technology. That has prevented China from taking its usual route to closing a technology gap: copying it.Some Chinese aviation industry specialists forecast that Beijing will eventually spend up to 300 billion yuan on jet engine development over the next two decades.
"China's aircraft engines have obviously been under-invested," said Wang Tianyi, a defence sector analyst with Shanghai's Orient Securities. "One hundred billion yuan is not a huge amount of money in the engine world."
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While AVIC's long term priority is to develop high performance engines for military aircraft, it is also trying to design power plants for passenger aircraft in the world's fastest growing civil aviation market. Based on projected demand from Western aircraft manufacturers, engines for new passenger aircraft delivered in China could be worth more than $100 billion over the next 20 years.
"Historically, all major players in aerospace have possessed both airframe and engine design capabilities," said Carlo Kopp, the Melbourne, Australia-based founder of Air Power Australia, an independent military aviation think tank. "Until China can design and produce competitive engines, the performance and capabilities of Chinese aircraft designs will be seriously limited by what technology they are permitted to import."
300 bn Yuan is a huge sum of money for engine tech only.
Given the fact that in case of china, its reported after it had already started (WS series was declared a no go much earlier,so that means re-engineering efforts must have started somwhere near 2009.) , they would have completed initial models by now.
This sum of money they are willing to invest will be nearly $50 bn by 2025, that's the half of the spending on arms we will be doing by then,given the pace .
It also means that they want to enter in export quality civilian/military aircraft market by 2025 or earlier and also that they dont want to rely on any supplier in war like situations..
These concerted efforts are in the area of quality improvement only..
Whatever we are ranting here about their quality and technological depth , such is going to change rapidly in the next decade, because the data speaks for itself. ?