The Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter was seen on a flight equipped with the new WS-15 engines, according to a video posted on the social network Weibo.
The turbofan has been developed by Xian Aero Engine for several years and is considered the definitive engine for the J-20. So far, the 5th generation fighter has been assembled with the Russian-designed WS-10 and AL-31FN engines.
The video dated June 29th shows the J-20 number 2052 in yellow primer taking off with the afterburners full, but the low quality footage does not allow confirming the information.
Probably WS-15 pic.twitter.com/bZyPQMRdcZ
— 乐子壬1号机 (@kt396) June 29, 2023
Despite this, journalist Andreas Rupprecht, a deep connoisseur of Chinese aircraft, considered the video to be authentic.
Rupprecht, however, noticed that the test aircraft did not have the TVC (Thrust Vector Control) installed, as expected. The functionality is expected to be added later by Chengdu and Xian.
The WS-15 turbofan is notably more powerful than the WS-10, allowing the J-20 to fulfill PLAAF-planned performance requirements, such as supersonic cruise flight without the use of afterburners.