China Tests Ramjet Engine to Enhance Chengdu J-20's Combat Ability

By Prei Dy, | June 09, 2017

The solid-fuel ramjet engine is a member of the ramjet engine family. Aside from its low cost, it is also boasts of its high power and high controllability with compact size advantage. (YouTube)

The solid-fuel ramjet engine is a member of the ramjet engine family. Aside from its low cost, it is also boasts of its high power and high controllability with compact size advantage. (YouTube)

China has successfully tested a solid-fuel variable flow ramjet engine that could enhance the real combat ability of its stealth fighter plane including the J-20 fighter jets.

A team of researchers from No. 4 research institute affiliated with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation revealed that the team has carried out two flight tests and that the new ramjet engine is ready for further engineering application.

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The solid-fuel ramjet engine will power hypersonic air-to-air missiles as part of its next generation air warfare arsenal to accompany the country's next generation fighters including the Chengdu J-20, Song Zhongping, a military expert, told Global Times.

The ramjet engine will allow the J-20 to fire shots from greater range and the missiles could fly at a hypersonic speed.

A special research team was formed and tasked to work on the project since 2000, and the research institute has performed eight flight tests with the new ramjet engines in recent years.

After the engine attains miniaturization, it will likely enable China's air-to-air missiles to strike targets up to 300 kilometers at a speed faster than Mach 5, Song said, adding that the engine could also be installed to China's latest missiles like the PL12.

However, more research needs to be carried out for that. But currently, such an engine will be mainly used on missiles, and its application on manned aircraft still has a long way to go since the thrust of such engines are still not sufficient.

Military expert Li Jie described the latest achievement as a milestone in the field of engine research in China. The industry has been a bottleneck for the country for quite some time.

The solid-fuel ramjet engine is a member of the ramjet engine family. Aside from its low cost, it is also boasts of its high power and high controllability with compact size advantage. And because of its sophisticated demands and highly difficult research on technology, the engine is hardly accessible in the world, Global Times reported.

Meanwhile, other ramjet-powered missiles currently in service in China include anti-ship missiles like the CM-302, which could cruise at supersonic speed.

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