The Zhuhai 13th Airshow, originally scheduled to take place between 5-10th November 2020, will go ahead in 2021 in China, most likely before November. The biennial event was postponed in October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this delay, more advanced indigenously developed Chinese technologies will be on display in 2021. Notable amongst them, WS-10C engines could be featured installed on China’s J-20 fighter that will be emblematic of the growing capability and self-sufficiency of China’s defence industry, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
According to GlobalData’s report, ‘China’s Defense Budget Analysis (FY 2020), Competitive Landscape and Forecasts’, engines accounted for a significant portion of Chinese defense imports between 2015-2019. During the period, engines were the second largest category for imports after aircraft. Aircraft and engine imports stood at 40% and 27% respectively.
Harry Boneham, Associate Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “One of the most eagerly anticipated appearances could be the J-20 stealth fighter equipped the new WS-10C engines. The arrival of these indigenously developed engines can be regarded as a watershed moment for the development of China’s defense industry.
“Historically, Chinese defense industrial deficiencies in key areas such as aircraft engines has led to Chinese platforms with inferior capabilities compared to Western alternatives. It also led to a dependence on imports for key components, generating a strategic vulnerability. For instance, the J-20 previously used the Russian AL-31F engine supplied by Rosoboronexport. However, the arrival of the WS-10C would end the dependence on imports.”
Furthermore, these developments are unlikely to stop in the near future. Whilst the arrival of the WS-10C onboard China’s premier fighter aircraft would be a significant development, it is reportedly an interim measure until the more powerful WS-15 engine arrives. The US Department of Defense 2020 China Military Power Report emphases the significance of these next-generation engines for granting the J-20 super-cruise capability.
Source : GlobalData