June 6 (UPI) — China has completed a successful test of a solid-fuel engine that would improve the firing range of missiles, according to state media.
Beijing’s state tabloid Global Times reported the military’s solid-fuel variable flow ramjet engine underwent two tests.
The engine would improve the stealth-fighting capabilities of the J-20 fighter aircraft, according to China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.
A ramjet is a jet engine that operates most efficiently at supersonic speeds. It operates by injecting fuel into compressed air during high-speed flight and is chiefly used in missile technology.
Chinese military expert Song Zhongping, formerly of the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force, said the new engine would increase the firing range of the J-20, and mobility for air-to-air and anti-ship missiles.
China has been working on a new missile engine with a special team since 2000, and has conducted eight tests with the No. 4 research institute.
Song said if the engine is miniaturized, China’s air-to-air missiles could travel at a hypersonic speed of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound, while capable of striking targets at distances of about 180 miles.
The new engine could be fitted on China’s new missiles, including the PL-12, Song said.
The J-20 is capable of flying long distances while receiving air refueling, and can fire long-range cruise missiles.