Chinese WS-15 engine prepared for mass production

by Akhil Kadidal & Prasobh Narayanan

Initial production units of China's fifth-generation fighter aircraft, the CAC J-20, are powered by the Russian-origin Saturn AL-31FN engines. However, from 2022, reports indicated that the Shenyang WS-10 Taihang turbofan engine is also being installed in the J-20s as an interim powerplant. The WS-15 is intended to replace both of these engines in the J-20. (Janes)

An official of China's Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) has said that the country's Shenyang WS-15 engine for fighter aircraft is ready for mass production.

Speaking during the Seventh China Aviation Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition (CAIEC) in March, Zhang Yong, a project director of AECC's Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials, said that from “a technical point of view” the institute has “tackled all bottlenecks” associated with the production of the WS-15 engine.

“The mass production of WS-10 and WS-15 [engines] delivery has been achieved. Materials screening and verifications have been finalised,” Zhang said.

The CAIEC was held from 16 to 17 March, according to China Central Television (CCTV), the Chinese state-owned broadcaster.

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Sweden completes NH90 SAR upgrade

by Gareth Jennings

Sweden has now received back into service seven NH90 search-and-rescue helicopters following an upgrade programme. (Swedish Air Force)

Sweden has received back into service the final NHIndustries (NHI) NH90 – Helikopter (HKP) 14 in national service – search-and-rescue (SAR) helicopter upgraded to the final operating capability (FOC) standard.

NHI announced the milestone on 5 December, saying the last of seven SAR-configured NH90 Tactical Troop Transport (TTT) helicopters to be upgraded in partnership with Patria had been delivered back to the Swedish Armed Forces some days earlier on 30 November.

The Swedish Air Force (SwAF) fields 18 NH90 TTT – a designation given when the Nordic Standard Helicopter Project with Finland and Norway was launched in 2001 – with 11 HKP 14Fs being rolled for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and seven HKP 14Es for SAR.

Sweden's NH90s are of a bespoke high-cabin configuration – the split between the ASW and SAR roles has changed since deliveries were launched in 2011, as the country's operational objectives shifted back more towards ASW as relations with Russia have deteriorated.

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New mortar AMPV variant prototype to make exhibition debut mid-2024

by Meredith Roaten

BAE Systems demonstrated its new counter unmanned aerial systems AMPV during a live fire in Kingman, Arizona. (BAE Systems)

The newly designed 120 mm mortar variant of the Armoured Multi Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will make its debut at the Association of the United States Army's (AUSA's) Warfighter conference in July 2024, Bill Sheehy, AMPV programme director at BAE Systems told Janes on 30 November.

BAE Systems first told Janes in September that it was delivering the prototype for Patria's 120 mm New Mortar (NEMO) and Kongsberg turret programme in January 2024. The prototype is still on track for first delivery, and the army plans to perform a live-fire demonstration at the July conference to show off its progress, Sheehy said in an interview.

The prototype represents BAE System's first official foray into broadening AMPV configurations, which the company hopes will highlight the flexibility of the platform. The turret is attached to the vehicle using the Ex-MEP (Mission Equipment Package), which can accommodate most remotely operated weapons stations.

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Portugal eyes F-35 buy

by Victor Barreira

With many of its European allies, including Norway (pictured), fielding the F-35A, Portugal is now eyeing the type also. (Royal Norwegian Air Force)

The Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II aircraft could emerge as the next combat aircraft in the inventory of the Portuguese Air Force (FAP).

The Chief of Staff of the FAP, General João Guilherme Rosado Cartaxo Alves, described the F-35A as the preferred choice to replace the Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM Fighting Falcon on 27 November.

Speaking at the SAE Media Group Military Airlift and Air-to-Air Refuelling conference in Lisbon, Gen Alves said the replacement process must start to prevent a loss of strategic relevance and operational credibility. He also noted that most European allies had already started the transition to the F-35.

The existing F-16AM/BM could extend its operational capability until 2030, however, with increasing levels of obsolescence, he said at the event in late November. Gen Alves confirmed that an acquisition will occur after 2030 as part of the newly established ‘Air Force 5.3' modernisation plan.

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An official of China's Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) has said that the country's Shenyang ...

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