Ukrainian manufacturer of jet engines Motor Sich has agreed to a record $800 million contract with People’s Liberation Army for turbofan AI-322 engine production, according to multiple reports.
The story was first reported by Defense Express, which cited a defense industry source that stated that China is buying a batch of 400 AI-322 engines for JL-10 fighter trainer aircraft and its L-15 export version.
The JL-10 is a new type of supersonic jet trainer and light combat aircraft developed by the state-run Aviation Industry Corporation of China, or AVIC.
AVIC says the JL-10 has a maximum speed of 1,200 kilometers per hour and a maximum flight range of 2,600 km.
Trainer jets for advanced application teach student pilots how to operate supersonic aircraft and how to carry out sophisticated aerial maneuvers, while those for lead-in fighter training are enhanced versions of advanced jet models and focus on familiarizing trainees with combat maneuvers and skills.
The aircraft made its maiden flight on 13 March 2006. The aircraft’s general designer is Mr. Zhang Hong, and development had reportedly been completed alongside Yakovlev OKB of Russia.
On July 1, 2013, the first batch of JL-10 began delivery to the PLAAF. Chinese Air Force and later Naval Air Force are highly satisfied with the aircraft’s all-around performance, high reliability, cost-effectiveness, as well as its great multi-role update potentials, easy maintainability, and a service life of over 10,000 flying hours.
The Chinese light combat aircraft has two Ukrainian-made AI-322 engines.
AI-322 turbofan engine is designed to power modern trainers and light combat aircraft of L-15 or Yak-130 types, etc. According to Motor Sich’s website, the engine ensures maximum operational safety in flight and increased combat effectiveness with long service life and low operating costs.