The WS16 turbofan is a copy of the Ukrainian aI-222-25F), a low-thrust afterburning turbofan with afterburning 4.2T. Mass production is contemplated for the trainer L15 (JL-15 Falcon) series. The prototype of the L-15 flew in March 2006. However, the differences in the second version, which first flew on 10 May 2008 show how much the programme has evolved in terms of performance requirements and demonstrates growing co-operation with the Russian and Ukrainian defence industries.
The L15 looks externally like a derivative of the Russian Yak-130 trainer, although Yakovlev's former director general, Oleg Demchenko, has stressed that "this is a Chinese plane" and that Yakovlev was only involved in "the preliminary design stage". The need to train Chinese pilots on the many Russian-built aircraft in China's inventory - Sukhoi Su-27SK fighter aircraft, Su-30MKK and Chinese-built versions of the Su-27, the J-11/J-11B - makes the L-15's similarity to the Yak-130 ideal from a logistics and interoperability standpoint.
Several changes that show how the design has matured and improved technologically. These include: a new engine, the Lyulka AI-222K-25, which is produced by Motor Sich in Ukraine and enables pilots to train in the supersonic envelope. Ukrainian sources have said that Motor Sich had an order for 100 engines from HAIG but this would be adequate to build only a small fleet of trainers. Designed to power modern trainers and light combat airplanes of Yak-130 -type. The engine version with afterburner has been designed. Engines can be supplied with vectored thrust nozzle at the Customer's demand.
A current demand in trainers of improved combat training, which have stability and flight qualities of updated and prospective fighters and a high "cost-effectiveness" factor, and also in development of light attack airplanes and fighters based on trainers. Such aircraft required a new engine with characteristics of the best in the world turbofans designed for combat aircraft. One of such engines, the AI-222-25 turbofan engine, is developed by Ivchenko Progress now together with the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Salut MMPP (Moscow, Russian Federation) and Motor Sich JSC (Zaporozhye, Ukraine). To reduce time and expenses required for development, the AI-222-25 engine is comprised of the core similar to that of the AI-22 bypass turbofan engine which is under development now for a new Tu-324 regional aircraft. The first start of a full-scale AI-22 engine was made on September 25, 2000.
The AI-222-25 engine core bench tests started in November 2002, the maiden flight of the full-scale engine was made in June, 2003, and in December 2003 two engines were delivered for the first unit of Yak-130 trainer. Yak-130 No. 1 made its first flight on April 30, 2004 and in December 2004 two more engines were delivered for Yak-130 No.2.
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