China Flight Test Establishment have confirmed reports that China’s indigenous WS-20 turbofan engine, designed by the Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company, can be used to power Y-20 transport planes.
The WS-20 can not only be used for upcoming military transport aircraft like the Y-20, but it can also be used to power large or medium-size passenger planes as well, the report said.
An aviation expert said the WS-20 is very similar to the US-built CFM56-7 or GE90 turbofan engine in structure, adding that in next five or seven years, both civilian and military aircraft could be equipped with the engine.
China is now on its way to become the fifth nation in the world with the capability to design advanced turbofan engines after the United States, United Kingdom, France and Russia. It will lead to major changes within the nation’s aviation industry as China will no longer need to rely on the supply of Russian-built engines for the development of large military aircraft. This will eventually help the country to have an independent aviation industry, the report said.
The Y-20’s range and loading capacity will also be extended after the WS-20 begins its service with the Chinese military, which will help the People’s Liberation Army Air Force to improve its force projection capabilities. In addition, China will be able to expand its overseas market after it is able to design and produce more advanced turbofan engines based on the WS-20.