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Shenyang J-16 Production and Deliveries

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US expert says China close to producing fighter engines(WS-10)

       Staff Reporter
  • 2014-06-15
  • 16:06 (GMT+8)

China is close to volume production of aero-engines that will be used in advanced combat aircraft, according to Bradley Perrett, Asia-Pacific bureau chief of the Washington-based Aviation Week & Space Technology.

In his newest article published on June 16, Perrett said that China needs large supplies of rhenium — a rare metal that increases the temperature-resistance of turbine blades — to design and produce an engine that can handle higher internal temperatures, increasing performance and durability. He said that the production of the new or upgraded engine is unclear but may beginning around 2016, adding that the country will need to stockpile five metric tonnes of rhenium a year.

The volume is about 10% of the world production, Perrett said, and is comparable to the likely consumption of the Pratt & Whitney F135 engine program for the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter when it reaches full-rate production. "Rhenium has other purposes, notably for catalyzers for the petrochemical industry," said Perrett, "but Chinese officials have said that turbine production is behind their requirement, says a metals-market participant with close knowledge of negotiations."

Perrett claims that China is actually following the global pattern of rhenium consumption because around 80% of the figure is used to produce aviation turbines. The use of rhenium can imply two upward steps in turbine metallurgy, the expert said. It can be used to improve nickel-based superalloys, while those alloys can be formed as single-crystal blades. Both technologies allow a turbine, especially a high-pressure one, to operate at a greater temperatures, according to Perrett.

Meanwhile, a foreign engineer told Perrett that his Chinese counterparts admitted that only 10% of single-crystal blades produced in China are currently acceptable for service. It is thus uncertain that the Chinese industry can achieve consistent quality production. Perrett added however that the addition of rhenium to nickel-based superalloys increases the temperature at which turbine blades can operate even without making blades as a single crystal.

"Rhenium melts at 3,182C (5,759F), compared with 1,455C for nickel," said Perrett, "The improved superalloys are almost certainly earmarked for combat aircraft engines, such as the WS-10 Taihang, which powers the J-10 and J-11 fighters. Chinese production of high-bypass turbofans must be very low, and their performance is not so important." With the determination to develop its own aviation industry, Perrett said that the possibility for China to acquire rhenium will be extremely high.

Коментар:

Както вече ви информирахме всичко върви според плановете на китайците. Милионите долари налети в проектите за двигатели ще дадат резултат. От следващата година се очаква повече от два пъти увеличаване на ресурса за двигатели.

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