China and Russia in engine tie-up talks with Klimov looking at next-generation powerplants including improved version of RD-93 turbofan used on Chengdu FC-1 light fighter

Zhuhai
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Russia's Klimov is looking at the possibility of joining forces with Chinese industry for the joint development of next-generation engines for fighter aircraft, helicopters and unmanned air vehicles, says general director/general designer Aleksandr Vatagin. "We are ready to work together with China on advanced projects of mutual interest, and are already working on some of them."

Speaking at last week's Airshow China in Zhuhai, Vatagin said additional areas of co-operation could include the development of new turboprop and turboshaft engines, gearboxes and auxiliary power units, plus enhanced versions of the RD-93 turbofan now in production for Chengdu's FC-1 light fighter also referred to as the JF-17 and Super-7.

Pakistan's first batch of single-engined FC-1s will be delivered next year with Russian-made RD-93s, and Vatagin says Klimov is now promoting uprated and vectored thrust versions of the powerplant for "improved Super-7 series" aircraft.

Talks are under way with the Chinese National Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), which leads the FC-1 project, over the possible use of vectored thrust technology on future versions of the RD-93, says Vatagin. "We believe the JF-17 project will develop further with Klimov participation," says CATIC development director Li Pei.

CATIC says there are currently no talks with Klimov over licence production of the RD-93 in China, but Beijing is seeking ways of conducting in-country maintenance on the design. The Russian company says it is ready to hand over maintenance documentation for the powerplant.

In 1997, Klimov supplied its first RD-93 engines for FC-1 development prototypes, the first of which made its flight debut in August 2003. Four aircraft and one static test airframe are now being used for certification purposes. Pakistan joined the programme in the late 1990s and took part in the development of the export-standard FC-1.

CATIC will not disclose its orderbook for the FC-1, but says Pakistan is not the only third country being offered examples powered by Russian-made engines.