At the China Aerospace Studies Institute conference, experts predicted that Russia couldn’t provide engines and components for up to 40% of the Chinese Air Force fleet.
According to the “Air Force Magazine” report, after the United States and European countries imposed sanctions on Russia due to the Russian–Ukrainian war, Russia could not import semiconductors and other technologies needed for military weapons.
Therefore, Russia must restock its own military and no longer can supply engines and components to China.
David Markov, a member of the Institute for Defense Analysis, said that China will remain dependent on Russian components now and probably in the future.
Moreover, during a panel discussion on military cooperation between China and Russia, experts explained that it was hard for China to fully develop engine technology without Russian engines.
The report pointed out that Russia provided nearly 4000 engines for Chinese helicopters and other military aircraft and S-300 and S-400 air defense systems from 1992 to 2019.
Markov also said, “I think they (China) will continue to buy engines from the Russians, though it’ll be interesting to see whether Russia can now supply these engines in light of the international sanctions.”
He assumed that China would have to use more national resources to resolve the “engine shortage” they now face.
Similarly, while China has succeeded in producing stealth J-20 and J-31 aircraft, it’s still unable to get Russian secret technology. Markov said, as a result, China is “lagging behind” in engine production.
Most Chinese specialist workers are in their early 20s and early 30s and lack experience, so Beijing contracted Russian specialists to work inside Chinese factories.
Markov said, “What they still are yet to understand is, modern aviation engines, particularly supercruise fighter engines, are more art than science.”
So, engine workers at companies like Roll-Royce, Pratt & Whitney, and GE have “tacit knowledge” that the Chinese lack.
According to Markov, China wants to obtain the Su-35 aircraft’s advanced engines, additional support, and digital control systems by buying it from Russia. From that, China keeps trying to perfect the WS-15 to power the J-20.