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People's Daily Online

China's aero-engine development industry sets lofty goals for next decade

People's Daily Online

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online) 16:17, September 05, 2016

After 60 years of development, China has established a relatively comprehensive research and development system for aero-engines, with about 90 percent of the country's operational aircraft utilizing domestic engines at present, according to an expert.

"In the process of industrialization, China has established an independent sector for aero-engines. The performance of domestically produced imitational engines reached a remarkably high level in the 70s, and around 90 percent of China's main operational aircraft are using domestic engines now," said senior colonel Wu Guohui, who is also an associate professor at the PLA National Defense University, in an interview with the Beijing Times.

Currently, most of China's fighter planes, attack aircraft, bombers and fighter-bombers feature domestic engines; only a small number of third-generation jet fighters are still using foreign engines, according to the newspaper.

Nevertheless, Wu explained, "Compared to the U.S., Europe and Russia, China still lags behind in the area of engines, as the country's development and mode of management for engines are relatively outdated."

China has historically relied heavily on foreign technologies when it comes to aero-engines. According to a CNN report in August, engines have accounted for 30 percent of all of China's imports over the past four years.

This sobering reality made the domestic development and production of engines a major goal in China's most recent five-year development plan. President Xi Jinping called for the acceleration of independent research, development and manufacturing of aircraft engines in order to make China a genuine aviation power. Xi's remarks came on the heels of the establishment of the Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) on Aug. 28 in Beijing, Xinhua reported.

The founding of AECC will accelerate China's development of new engines. According to Wu, it is possible that China will meet the current standards of international engine development within five to 10 years; however, a large-scale improvement is necessary in order to catch up with countries like the U.S.

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