China has installed an indigenous engine in its Xian JH-7B fighter bomber. The plane has been designed to be difficult to detect, reports Huanqiu.
A Xian JH-7B that has carried out test flights has been powered by the LM6 turbofan engine designed specifically for the aircraft which boasts more powerful thrust than the country's latest WS-10A engine. The LM6's air intake has been designed to be less visible and its exterior is coated with materials that can absorb electromagnetic waves. The engine is undergoing fine-tuning in preparation for mass production and the fighter bomber will be installed with new avionics and may use an active phased array radar.
|Xian JH-7B fighter bomber|
The development of the plane began as early as 1974 after a battle against Vietnam in the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. The incident prompted Beijing to decide to develop a supersonic all-weather aircraft that could be used by both the navy and air force. Development was slow, however, since a suitable engine for the aircraft could not be found and other countries were unwilling to sell advanced engines to the country.
The Xian JH-7 was China's first aircraft capable of mid-air refueling. Its advanced JH-7A variant has seen service with three navy battalions and three air force battalions.