MMPP Salyut has successfully undertaken the first flight of its own variant of the AL-31F engine. The company is hoping to find applications for the AL-31FN on new versions of the Sukhoi Su-27 family and the Chinese Chengdu J-10 fighter.

The engine differs from the basic variant in having a redesigned fan for higher air flow. The initial flight was conducted on 24 January using a Su-27 test-bed. Salyut hopes to increase the AL-31's thrust by 10-15%.

The AL-31FN tested is a development prototype and lacks the Klivit thrust-vectoring nozzle developed by St Petersburg-based Klimov.

The nozzle is being developed for the AL-31FN - it isa larger version of one already fitted to a special variant ofthe Klimov RD-33 engine developed for the RSK MiG MiG-29OVT thrust-vectoring demonstrator.

First revealed last year, that system is being prepared for flight-tests.

The AL-31 was developed by the A.Lyulka-Saturn design house (now part of NPO Saturn), and manufactured at MMPP Salyut and UMPO production factories for use on several Su-27 variants.

Salyut established its own design department three years ago, with the goal of improving existing engines, and developing new ones, such as the AL-55, on which it is working jointly with A.Lyulka-Saturn, and which is intended for lightweight combat aircraft.

The modified AL-31 will feature on growth versions of the Su-27 family of fighters and the Chinese J-10 fighter. A.Lyulka-Saturn is known to be working on its own high-thrust variant of the AL-31F, featuring a redesigned fan and combustor.

Source: Flight International