Shenyang WS-10

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Type Turbofan
National origin People's Republic of China
Manufacturer Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company
First run 1990s
Major applications Shenyang J-11
Chengdu J-10
Shenyang J-15
Shenyang J-16
Number built More than 266 [1]
Developed into WS-20

The Shenyang WS-10 (Chinese: 涡扇-10), codename Taihang, is a turbofan engine designed and built by the People's Republic of China. The WS-10A is being used to power the J-11B, J-15, and the J-16,[2] and eventually the J-10.[3][4]

Russia claimed that WS-10 engine is so strategically important to China, that it was almost like China's own Apollo program.[5]

Development and design[edit]

The WS-10 project had its roots in the earlier WS-6 turbofan, which was abandoned at the start of the 1980s.[6] Development of the WS-10 started in 1987 by Shenyang Aeroengine Research Institute (606 Institute) of the China Aviation Industry Corporation and was based upon the core of CFM International CFM56 engines imported from the United States in 1982. This core itself deriving from the F16's GE F101 engines.[7] The original WS-10 was found to lack the performance needed for modern jet-powered fighters and was never used to power an aircraft. The design was modified and an improved version, the WS-10A, was tested on a prototype Shenyang J-11 fighter in 2002.[8]

In 2005 it was reported that, according to Russian sources familiar with China's WS-10A turbofan development project, WS-10A was being developed to be slightly more powerful than the Saturn/Lyulka AL-31. The sources noted that China was encountering problems with meeting weight reduction goals for the WS-10A's primary and secondary compressors and had problems meeting thrust requirements. It was also stated that Chinese thrust vectoring technology was under development for the WS-10A.[9] The Chinese media also reported in 2005 that the WS-10A had completed 4 months endurance testing and the engine was later certified for production in 2006. WS-10 reached its fully design performance on 2004. [10]

According to an interview publicised in January 2007 with J-10 pilot Li Cunbao (李存宝), the J-10 had not yet been equipped with the domestic WS-10 engine, because although the WS-10 could match the performance of its Russian counterpart (the AL-31), there was a serious drawback; the WS-10 took longer to "spool up", i.e. there was a delay in reaching the same thrust output as the Russian engine.

WS-10A is reported to have 13,200 kilograms (29,100 lb) of thrust and a 7.5:1 thrust-to-weight ratio, making it comparable to the AL-31F turbofan. The WS-10A was first displayed in public at the 2008 Zhuhai Air Show.[11] The WS-10A design consists of a 7-stage high pressure compressor, short annular combustor with air blast atomizer and air film cooling blades. It is the first production turbofan from China to feature single crystal nickel-based turbine blades, which allow higher intake temperatures and greater engine thrust. WS-10A has also been equipped with a FADEC (full authority digital engine control) system. An asymmetric thrust vector control (TVC) nozzle, similar to the TVC nozzle of the Russian AL-31F-TVN engine, has also been reported undergoing testing.

On 2 April 2009, the director of AVIC (Aviation Industry Corporation of China) Lin Zuoming (林左鸣), stated that there were problems with the quality control procedures on the WS-10A production line, meaning the Taihang turbofan was still of unsatisfactory quality. He said that solving these problems would be a key step.[12] In addition to poor build quality, the engines suffered from poor reliability, the Chinese engines have been lasting 30 hours at a time vs 400 for the Russian originals.[13] Despite AVIC's issues with quality control, mass production of the WS-10 series engines would contribute significantly in improving Chinese industrial capabilities.[14]

The overall situation had steadily improved by the end of 2009, after which the WS-10A had reportedly proved mature enough to power the J-11B Block 02 aircraft.[15] By late 2013, the improved WS-10A engine has reached a new level of maturity and performance, it powered the J-16 throughout its entire flight test program and now the J-16 is starting to reach IOC and begin small batch production. [16] By early 2014, pictures of J-15S a twin seated variant of Shenyang J-15 naval fighter is spotting using WS-10A engine. This further proves WS-10A engine's maturity level has reached satisfactory level. [17]

Derivatives of the WS-10 are under development, such as a high-bypass turbofan variant for propelling large transport aircraft and marine gas turbine variant for propelling ships. The high-bypass turbofan is called WS-20 which is derived from the WS-10A's core to power the Y-20 strategic transport currently under development by XAC.

A thrust-vectoring variant with higher thrust (135 kilonewtons (30,000 lbf)), called the WS-10B, is ready for combat aircraft installation, while an even further upgrade with higher thrust (155 kilonewtons (35,000 lbf)), designated the WS-10G, is also under testing.

According to the latest reports from Chinese air force the PLAAF, high ranking Chinese air force officers are well satisfied with WS-10A's performance and have ordered Sheng Yang Liming to increase WS-10A engine's production capacity. [18]

Pictures showing J-11B fighters equipped with WS-10A engines performing ground attack have also been made available. [19]


According to the latest Chinese source, the WS-10 is being developed into a high bypass ratio, non-afterburning engine to power the Y-20 transport. The engine is called WS-20. [20]

The newest WS-10 engine variant code named "WS-20" was spotted on an IL-76 Chinese engine test bed. According to the report, the WS-20 is China's first high bypass ratio turbo fan engine and it is derived from the WS-10 engine. This indicates that WS-10 engine is a mature program and is already being mass-produced. The WS-10 engine core's maturity will shorten the developmental time of the WS-20 engine and will allow the Chinese to use domestically produced turbo fan engines to power the Y-20 transport. [21]

According to Popular Science, the WS-20 generated 14 tons of thrust.[22]



  • WS-10 – original design producing a thrust of 126 kilonewtons (28,000 lbf)
  • WS-10A – improved variant producing a thrust of 132–137 kilonewtons (30,000–31,000 lbf)
  • WS-10B – upgraded variant producing a thrust of 135 kilonewtons (30,000 lbf)
  • WS-10G – upgraded variant producing a thrust of 155 kilonewtons (35,000 lbf) with thust vectoring and stealthy nozzles that have jagged edges and tiles
  • WS-20 – derived variant with high-bypass ratio and no afterburner to power the Y-20 transport. 138 kilonewtons (31,000 lbf)[22]

Specifications (WS-10A)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Type: Afterburning turbofan
  • Length:
  • Diameter: 950 millimetres (37 in) inlet
  • Dry weight: 1,630 kilograms (3,590 lb)


  • Compressor: 3 fan and 9 compressor stages
  • Combustors: annular
  • Turbine: 1 high-pressure and 2 low pressure stages


See also[edit]

Comparable engines
Related development
Related lists


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Overseas media: Chinese naval J-11s spotted in the open". Global Times. 
  4. ^ Siva Govindasamy. "China and Russia agree J-10 powerplant contract". Flightglobal. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ LM WS10A Tai Hang (China) – Jane's Aero-Engines. (2011-11-27). Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Report on the August 2003 Moscow Aerospace Salon (MAKS). (2003-10-07). Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  9. ^ Fisher, Richard (12 September 2005). "Chinese Dimensions of the 2005 Moscow Aerospace Show". United States: International Assessment and Strategy Center. Retrieved 29 May 2010. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ This is the real face of Taihang (WS-10) Turbofan Engine!. China Defense Mashup. Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  12. ^ Chinese AVIC Top Head admits the Poor Quality of Jet Engine. China Defense Mashup (2009-04-02). Retrieved on 2012-08-28.
  13. ^ Pomfret, John. "Military strength is eluding China." Washington Post, 25 December 2010.
  14. ^ "Jet Engine Development in China: Indigenous high-performance turbofans are a final step toward fully independent fighter production." China SignPost, 27 June 2011.
  15. ^ Rupprecht, Andreas (December 2011). "China's 'Flanker' gains momentum. Shenyang J-11 update.". Combat Aircraft Monthly 12 (12): 40–42. 
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b
  23. ^ P.8
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Richard D. Fisher (2008). China's Military Modernization: Building for Regional and Global Reach. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 108–. ISBN 978-0-275-99486-0. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 

External links[edit]