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China tackles disruptive engine technology

Aug 11, 2023 | China News | 0 comments

Aeroengines are known as the most dazzling pearl in the crown of human industry, especially in the field of military aircraft. Because the ultimate performance is required, lagging behind engines means lagging behind fighter jets. In 2011, my country’s fifth-generation J-20 made its first successful flight, but because of its relatively backward engine, it was unable to exert its full strength, which led to being ridiculed by the United States all the time. But just recently, not only has the J-20 been replaced with a brand-new turbofan 15 series engine, which has surpassed the American F22 in an all-round way, CCTV also revealed that my country has conquered the “oblique detonation engine”. With the support of this engine, the aircraft The maximum speed can reach Mach 9, which is more than four times that of F22!


At the beginning of June this year, my country’s national major scientific research instrument development project code-named JF22 “detonation-driven ultra-high-speed high-enthalpy shock tunnel” officially passed the acceptance, which means that my country’s wind tunnel technology has officially surpassed that of the United States. Before JF22, the LENS-XX wind tunnel in the United States was the only wind tunnel in the world that could meet the test conditions of Mach 30, and JF not only reached a maximum wind speed of Mach 35, but also tested the effective test time, total temperature, total pressure and nozzle flow field. The size and other comprehensive performance indicators are better than those of the United States.

The wind tunnel is for the development of various aircraft services. Jiang Zonglin, the designer of the JF-22 wind tunnel, publicly stated that China’s oblique detonation engine has reached the practical stage. After the JF-22 is officially put into use, my country will also use the wind tunnel Upgrade the oblique detonation engine, and the fastest speed may reach Mach 16 by then!

Why are oblique detonation engines so powerful? It turns out that China, the United States and Russia are currently researching hypersonic vehicles, the most typical of which are missiles. Existing hypersonic missiles all use scramjet engines, which have excellent performance, but there is a big Disadvantages: The aircraft itself must fly at a very high speed to ignite, and the greater the power of the engine, the higher the speed required.

For example, a hypersonic missile must first find a way to accelerate it to Mach 1 or higher before the scramjet can be started. Such conditions are very harsh, so even the United States has stumbled in the research of hypersonic missiles. The United States never imagined that before they figured out hypersonic missiles, our country had developed an engine more advanced than scramjet.

At present, only China in the world has mastered the core technology of oblique detonation engines. As early as 2018, my country laid the theoretical foundation for the research and development of oblique detonation engines. It’s time for practicality. But before that, the maximum wind speed of my country’s JF-12 wind tunnel was only Mach 10, so it could not provide the most ideal test environment for the oblique detonation engine. Now, with the appearance of the JF-22 wind tunnel, China will further expand its relationship with America’s Gap!

There is no doubt that after the oblique detonation engine comes out, it will first be used on drones and hypersonic missiles. If the technology is mature, it will also become a candidate engine for my country’s sixth-generation fighter jets. Although it is impossible for a manned fighter jet to maintain high speed for a long time, with the support of oblique detonation engines, the performance of our country’s sixth-generation fighter jets will be far ahead.

The last thing to explain is that there is still a way for military aero engines to be variable cycle engines. The United States has a certain lead in this area of ​​technology, but my country has not left behind research on variable cycle engines while conquering detonation engines. About half a generation away from the US. At that time, after China’s sixth-generation aircraft comes out, there will be a variety of flexible options!

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