Saturn AL-31

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Saturn AL-31 FN turbofan engine
Type Turbofan
National origin USSR
Manufacturer NPO Saturn
Major applications Sukhoi Su-27
Chengdu J-10

The Saturn AL-31 is a family of military turbofan engines. It was developed by Lyulka, now NPO Saturn, of Soviet Union, originally for the Sukhoi Su-27 air superiority fighter. It produces a total thrust of 123 kN (27,600 lb) with afterburning in the AL-31F, 137 kN (30,800 lb) in the AL-31FM (AL-35F) and 142 kN (32,000 lb) in the AL-37FU variants. Currently it powers all Su-27 derivatives and the Chengdu J-10 multirole jet fighter which has been developed in China.



Name Description Builder Year Thrust Thrust vectoring Aircraft Status
AL-31F[1][2][3] The basic engine developed to power the Su-27 fighter Salyut, UMPO 1981 123 kN (27,700 lbf) No Su-27, Shenyang J-11, Sukhoi Su-30MKK, Sukhoi Su-30(Salyut) In service/production
AL-31F3 Improved variant for the naval version Su-33 Saturn Lyul'ka 125.57 kN (28,200 lbf) No Su-33, In service/production
AL-31FP Improved variant for the Indian Su-30MKI with thrust vectoring Salyut, HAL 2000 123 kN (27,700 lbf) Yes Su-30 MKI, Sukhoi Su-30MKM In service/production
AL-31FN[4] Improved variant for the Chengdu J-10 Salyut, 2002 127 kN (28,600 lbf) No Chengdu J-10 In service/production
AL-31FN Series 3[5] Improved variant for the Chengdu J-10 Salyut 2013 137 kN (30,800 lbf) No Chengdu J-10 Testing
AL-31F M1[6] Improved version for the Russian Air Force Salyut 2007 135 kN (30,300 lbf) Yes Su-27SM, Su-30, Su-34 In service/production
AL-31F M2[7] Improved version for the Russian Air Force Salyut 2012 145 kN (32,600 lbf) Yes Su-27SM, Su-30, Su-34 In tests
AL-37FU Advanced derivative for the Su-37 UMPO 145 kN (32,600 lbf) Yes Su-37 experimental derivative for su-37
AL-41F1S (117S)[8] Advanced derivative for the Su-35 UMPO 2010 142 kN (31,900 lbf) Yes Su-35 In service/early production
AL-41F1 (117) Advanced derivative for the Sukhoi PAK FA UMPO 2010 147 kN (33,000 lbf) Yes PAK FA prototype In service/early production

The AL-31FP and AL-37FU variants have thrust vectoring. The former is used in the Su-30MKI export version of the Su-30 for India & Sukhoi Su-30MKM for Malaysia . The AL-37FU can deflect its nozzle to a maximum of ±15° at a rate of 30°/sec. The vectoring nozzle is utilized primarily in the pitch plane. The AL-31FP is built in India by HAL at the Koraput facility under a deep technology transfer agreement.

It has a reputation for having a tremendous tolerance to severely disturbed air flow. In the twin-engined Su-27, the engines are interchangeable between left and right. The Mean Time Between Overhaul (MTBO) for the AL-31F is given at 1000 hours with a full-life span of 3000 hours. Some reports suggested that Russia was offering AL-31F to Iran to re-engine its F-14 Tomcat air fleet in the late 1990s.

According to Saturn`s Victor Mihailovic Chepkin, chief designer of the 117 and 117S engines, the Chinese WS-10 was developed with the aid of the AL-31`s maintenance technical documentation.[9] China can domestically produce most AL-31 parts for its own jet engine programs, but must import turbine blades from Russia.[10]


The 117S (AL-41F1S) is an upgrade of the AL-31F based on the AL-41F intended to power the Su-35BM, producing 142 kN (32,000 lb) of thrust in afterburner and 86.3 kN (19,400 lb) dry.[11] It features a fan 3% larger in diameter (932 millimetres (36.7 in) versus 905 millimetres (35.6 in)), advanced high- and low-pressure turbines, an all-new digital control system, and provisions for thrust-vectoring nozzles similar to the AL-31FP. This engine will have an assigned life of 4,000 hours and an MTBO of 1,000 hours.[12] The first flight of this engine was completed in an Su-35BM on 20 February 2008.[13] On 9 August 2010, Ufa-based company UMPO started supplying 117S engines (AL-41F1S) intended for Su-35S fighters.[14]


The 117 (AL-41F1) is a new 5th generation engine custom built for Russia’s fifth-generation stealth fighter jet PAK-FA according to Sukhoi General Director Mikhail Pogosyan. Mikhail Pogosyan has clarified that claims that fifth-generation fighter allegedly has an old engine are wrong. Such claims are made by people with limited knowledge, he said. Though most parameters of the new 5th Gen Engine remains classified General Director Mikhail Pogosyan provided some information on the new engine, The engine thrust was enlarged by 2.5 tonnes when compared with the AL-31 engine, while the engine weight was cut by 150 kilograms. That allowed the new jet to supercruise i.e. move at a supersonic cruise speed without the use of after burner.[15]

The Saturn Research and Production center made digitally controlled system (FADEC) of Project 117 Engine.The new engine produces 33,000 lbs (147 kN) of thrust in afterburner has a Dry weight of 1420 kilogram and T:W ratio of 10.5:1.[16]

Mikhail Pogosyan further mentioned that the 117 meets the Russian Air Force requirements. This is not an intermediate product made particularly for test flights. The engine will be installed in production PAK-FA fighter which will be supplied to the Russian Air Force and prospective foreign clients.[17]

Bench testing of a radically new engine (the second stage) for the Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft PAK FA will start in 2014, said the general designer-director of the Scientific and Technical Center "Saturn", Eugeny Marchuk "The engine will be ready in two years, and will begin bench testing then", said Marchuk at the 11th International Conference" Aviation and Space - 2012 ", which opened at the Moscow Aviation Institute. According to him, the new "engine 117" will belong to the "5 +" generation and its characteristics will be superior to the existing foreign counterparts engine for fifth generation aircraft. "This is - a fundamentally new engine, The motor unit weight is 30% less (than the 117C - approx.), Life-cycle costs will by 30% less, and it should be cheaper, "- said Marchuk.[18]

Specifications (AL-31F)[edit]

Data from [19]

General characteristics

  • Type: Two-shaft afterburning turbofan
  • Length: 4,990 millimetres (196 in)
  • Diameter: 905 millimetres (35.6 in) inlet; 1,280 millimetres (50 in) maximum external
  • Dry weight: 1,570 kilograms (3,460 lb)[20]


  • Compressor: 4 fan and 9 compressor stages
  • Combustors: annular
  • Turbine: 2 single-staged turbines


74.5 kilonewtons (16,700 lbf) military thrust
122.58 kilonewtons (27,560 lbf) with afterburner

Military thrust: 0.67 lb/(lbf·h)
Full afterburner: 1.92 lb/(lbf·h)

See also[edit]

Comparable engines
Related lists



External links[edit]