This is the PRC’s turbofan history AFAIK:
When the chinis decided to finally do a turbofan, they went to Rolls Royce during a period of bonhomie in the early 1980s. (Chinis did not have access to a Russian turbofan until the AL-31 in the SU-27 deal in the late 1990s.) This was the licensed produced WS-9 copy of the RR Spey. This engine had a clean safety record from what I know. The WS-9 still powers the JH-7 today.
The RR spey story actually starts off with tricky dick.
During the nixon cheeni bonhomie, tricky dick arranged for RR to sell a very considerable number of spey engines (about 20 odd engines, IIRC)
Also, see the shady brit saga of dealings with the hans
Military Spey Folklore
A few years ago, when I worked for a natural gas company, we needed some overhaul parts for our Mk-1900 Industrial Spey engines. Being unhappy with Roll's parts pricing and delivery times, I was poking around to see what aircraft Spey parts might be compatible. I was at a turbine convention in Ontario, California, and bumped into a fellow who said that he had a number of Mk-203 Military aero Spey engines, and would sell one to me relatively cheap, to do a compatability study. We made the deal, and a few weeks later a whole Mk-203 Spey engine arrived, fresh from the engine bay of a Royal Airforce F4 Phantom. We stripped it down, and yes, there was a high degree of compatability. We paid for engine No.1, and negotiated the purchase of three other units. Engine No.2 arrived, exactly the same as the first, but the last two, were significantly different inside, and the engine data tag stated that they were "Mk-205". Nobody seemed to know anything about them, so we sent the HP Turbine blades for analysis. HP.1 Turbine blades were DS Cast, and HP. 2 Turbine blades were single crystal! HPT Stg-1 nozzles were completely different too, with a revised blunt-nose profile with three rows of film cooling holes, and 40% increased cooling air flow, combined with the trailing edge cooling slots.(As opposed to trailing edge cooling holes as per Mk-203/Mk-1900) Turns out our supplier of the engines had a good repoire with the British MOD, and a few months earlier had been notified that The MOD was to surplus Qty-62 Military Aero Spey engines. He had negotiated with The MOD a first option to purchase Qty-10 engines, and of this he made good and duly purchased the engines. About this time, Rolls Royce was working with the Chinese to build a military aero Spey shop in Xian, China to license build Speys there, in anticipation of the wholly indigenous, new Chinese fighter, the Chengdu J-10 "Vigourous Dragon" Rolls figured that they had an inside track with the MOD, and had exclusive access to the Qty-62 engines. They were livid when it was revealed that my guy had scooped them on Qty-10 engines, and cherry picked them at that! In the end, Rolls bought all of my guys' remaining parts, at his price. (Yes, he is now comfortably retired, somewhere in Cypress.) A couple years later, the Chinese can sniffing around my shop, inquiring as to whether I had any military aero Spey parts for sale. "Well as a matter of fact I do" They took every bit, and were especially happy to get their hands on the Mk-205 unique parts, as Rolls would not share that technology with them. (Mk-203 to Mk-205 status represents a 3000# increase in total thrust per engine, a significant boost in performance.)
This was well before ITARS clamped down on everyone, and today, I could not do the same, without appropriate export licenses, and permits.
Story doesn't end here.
Later, my guy in the UK says "I found two more Mk-203 Speys, in As-Removed condition, intersted in them?" Sure, why not? I bought them for a reasonable price, and a few weeks later they arrive.
Definately run, but not in too bad of shape. I strip them down, and put the industrial compatible parts in storage. So, I ask him,"I thought all the military aero Speys were gone to the Chinese", to which he replies, "they are, I found these in a scrap yard on The Isle of Wight". Now who the heck would have these engines on the Isle? Mr. Richard Noble. Yes, these two engines were from the Thrust SSC program, which currently holds the world land speed record of 763 miles per hour, set in 1996. Now Mr. Noble claims that the record was set using Mk-203 Speys. Rolls did supply him with a total of four engines for the Thrust SSC program, two Mk-203sand two Mk-205s. If this is indeed the case, the Thrust SSC car on display in The Smithsonian, has the never ran Mk-205s installed, and I gave away all the HP Turbine blades as paper weights to various friends and highschool classes who toured through my shop. I still have a few bits from these Mk-203 engines, if anyone is interested in some (potential) memorabilia. Can't be confirmed, and likely denied, but I think I have the real story.
WS9 Imported Spey Engine Technology
The WS-9 is a licensed production of Spey Mk202. It reduced fan compression from 17 to 14 stages. Different burner, nozzle, 500kg more thrust. After 30 years of efforts, by 2004 Xi'an Aeroengine reportedly started producing the Spey engines licensed to it by Rolls-Royce in the 1970s. Reportedly, these engines were installed in the JH-7A.
At the end of 1971, at a conference on aero-product quality, Premier Zhou Enlai, with regard to the problem of declining quality and poor performance of China-produced aero engines, pointed out that the engine is the "Heart", and asked "How can one fight with a poor Heart uncured"! Following the meeting, he asked MAI to improve the quality of the products, and also to study how best to introduce foreign technology into China. Ye Jianying, Vice Chairman of the Military Commission of CCCPC, and Li Xiannian, Vice Premier, led the study and evaluation and decided to import the military version of the Spey from England. In May 1972, contact with the UK commenced, and a technical survey team was sent to the UK. In August 1974, the negotiations reached a substantial stage, and the technical import contract was signed on December 13th, 1975.
China purchased the manufacturing license of the Spey MK202 turbofan engine from Rolls-Royce, England. This engine was developed from the commercial Spey MK511. At the beginning of the 1970s, England re-engined their F4 Phantom fighters purchased from the United States with Spey engines. The United States also imported the engine, and used it on A7 attack aircraft. The purchase of the Spey Engine technology was a major decision for China.
The Spey MK202 had a high thrust augmentation ratio (i.e. the ratio between the thrust with reheat and the thrust without reheat) comparatively low s.f.c., longer operation life, big surge margin of the compressor, high efficiency of components at various conditions and stable and reliable running. It had an air bleed system for the flap BLC (boundary layer control) to improve the take-off and landing performance of the aeroplane. However, the engine structure was complicated, the thrust to weight ratio was relatively low, and the thrust was insufficient at high altitude. It was, however, a good engine for China to import at that time.
The engine was designated as the WS9 and produced by Xi'an Aeroengine Factory [XEF], and the State paid close attention to the development. Vice Premier Wang Zhen inspected the factory three times, and the Vice Minister of MAI, Mo Wenxiang, was assigned by the MAI to lead a team in the factory. They worked with Shaanxi Province to organize the relative factories, institutes, colleges and universities to translate technical documents and to produce toolings. The State allocated a specific fund for the trial production and the factory's technical reformation. The supply of domestic raw materials was also arranged.
The trial production in XEF started in 1976. The massive staff members and workers contributed all their efforts and completed the translation and copying of 420,000 pages of documents and finished about 30,000 tooling design drawings and the manufacture of these toolings. During the tooling manufacturing stage, Li Guofu, Qu Guangxin, Ma Shiying and other technical leaders of the factory organized the work to tackle the key technical problems and detail parts trial production, solving 76 critical techniques. The titanium alloy thermal form¬ing was a unique process jointly worked out with BAMTRI, superceding the process specified in the supplied technical documents.
Through more than 3 years' effort, in the latter part of 1979, 4 WS9 engines were assembled in two batches. In November the same year, the 150 hours endurance test was completed in China jointly conducted by the British and the Chinese. From February to May 1980, the engine test in the simulated altitude test facility including cold starting at -40 t and fatigue cycling test for 5 major components were carried out in England. All the results met the technical requirements. Documents were signed between the representatives of the two sides for clearance of the qualification test of the China-made WS9 engine.
The successful production of the WS9 engine enabled China to have a moderate thrust reheat turbofan engine. The manufacturing techniques in the Chinese engine industry were brought to a much higher level through the production of the WS9 engines. The engine had a complicated structure, with many blades, precision parts, thin wall fabrications and complicatedly shaped pipes. Some existing Chinese materials used, however, were of poor quality. In order to solve this problem, new work processes and new technologies were introduced including the electro-chemical machining, electron beam welding, laboratory control, inspection and measur¬ing, precision casting and precision forging. The parts and the toolings manufactured were one grade higher in precision than those previously used in China.
During the production of the WS9, the factory mastered 13 items of advanced world technology such as the metal spray, vacuum heat treatment, pipe butt welding, vacuum brazing, NC pipe bending and electro machining, and in addition mastered 46 advanced technologies in China including soft die form¬ing and creep feed grinding. Through the development of the WS9 engine, the manufacturing techniques and technical levels of China's metallurgical, chemical and machinery industries were also improved. Therefore, the gap between China and advanced aeronautical countries in engine manufacturing technology was considerably narrowed.
The imported 137 copies of design and calculation reports and test reports, as well as the complicated manufacturing documents of the Spey engine, were used as reference guides for design and development of our engines, and the manufacture of other western advanced engines.
The import of the Spey promoted the technical reformation of the factory, which purchased some 700 advanced machine tools and facilities from abroad. In its numerical control (NC) machine workshop, there were 26 NC machines both made in China and from abroad, support¬ed by the capabilities of programming, setting, machining and inspection. There were 23 sets of special equipment for producing WS9 parts, which were modified by the factory from their existing capabilities. For example, the machining of the contours of HP and LP compressor casings was done in England by a special copy milling machine, at a cost of 800,000 Pounds Sterling.
Niu Chunpu and his colleagues modified a conventional vertical milling machine, which performed the task perfectly. The precision casting and precision forging production lines all had first class facilities and work processes. It produced very few allowance forging and casting blanks, which greatly saved precious alloys, equipments and manhours. It served not only for other aeroengine factories, but also other military and commercial enterprises. XEF became an aeroengine manufacturing base with the manufacturing technique world competitive in the 1970s.
The introduction of the Spey was the starting point for China's aviation industry to further develop extensive international technical cooperation. The main problem of the import of Spey engine was that there was no proper applications for the engine, which affects the full use of the benefit both in technology and economy.
Recent Chinese turbofan engines have been named after famous mountains in China. The WS9 is named after Shaanxi's Qinling Mountains. Domestic and foreign geologists and biologists generally acknowledge that Qinling is one of the three famous mountain ranges in the world and is known as the "Three Sisters" on the earth with the Alps in Europe and the Rocky Mount in Americas. All the three mountains are of great size and their geographical locations are very important, the ecological and environmental protection of which is related to sustainable development of human beings.
Running east to west, Qinling Mountains lie in the eastern province of Shaanxi and form a natural division between northern and southern China in terms of geography and climate. The Qinling Mountains is the site of one of the most biologically rich temperate forest in the world. Xi`an, the capital city of the province of Shaanxi, is a short distance to the north-east of Qinling Mountains lies. Xi`an is one of the six ancient Chinese capitals and was the starting point of the world-famous "Silk Road". Qinling Mountains is a significant water source area and a "climate adjuster" of Xi'an, and is the lifeblood for sustainable development of Xi'an economy and for production and life of people.
As a grand mountain range of the continental shelf in China, Qinling Mountains is the dividing line of natural ecology and climate of north and south as well as Yangtze River and the Yellow River, but also the important distribution area of rare wild plants and animals in our country. The diversity of ecosystems, species and genes in Qinling all has the important typical and representative characteristics. The main part of the Qinling Mountains is located in Shaanxi province, which covers the part of the region of six cities in the province. The Qinling mountainous areas account for a quarter of the province's total area.