Chinese Indigenous Developed High-Bypass Turbofan Engines Emerging

Chinese New Indigenous  High-Bypass Turbofan Engines

China is developing four high-bypass turbofans, only two of which were previously known. All four have potential military and civil applications.

Work at Shenyang on a high-bypass turbofan in the 30,000 lb. class and suitable for large transport aircraft was already known, along with development of the similarly sized CJ-1000 engine for the C919 commercial aircraft.

But it turns out that there are two such engines from the Shenyang design bureau of Avic Engine: the WS-118 and the SF-A. This was revealed in materials prepared for a May 22-23 conference organized by Galleon (Shanghai) Consulting in association with Avic. The Avic connection means the conference materials can be taken as semi-official.

Both engines from the Shenyang Engine and Design Research Institute are based on fighter-engine cores, just as Western aircraft in the 1970s often used combat cores.

The 26,500-lb.-thrust WS-118 is based on the WS-10A Taihang core, which powers the J-10 and J-11B fighters, according to a document prepared for the China Aerospace Propulsion Technology Summit. Avic Engine’s Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine group is scheduled to begin manufacturing it in 2015.

The WS-118 is a candidate for the Y-20 military airlifter and Comac’s C919 airliner, Galleon reports, although it is likely to be underpowered for the Y-20 and too inefficient for the C919. The same design institute is working on a similar but slightly more powerful turbofan, the 28,700-lb.-thrust SF-A, based on the WS-15 core, reputed to be the engine of the J-20 heavy stealth fighter.

The SF-A has been mentioned previously as a prospective C919 engine. Industry executives also report the existence of an SF-B engine, which may be a version of the SF-A.

Meanwhile, a fourth high-bypass Chinese turbofan is in the works, the smaller WS-12C, using the core of the little-known WS-12 combat engine and intended to power the Comac ARJ21 regional jet, whose only publicly revealed engine until now has been the General Electric CF34-10A. With a thrust of 17,600 lb., the WS-12C is under development by the Chengdu Gas Turbine Research Institute.