A Chinese delegation was last month sent to the plant of the Moscow Machine-building Production Association, a Russian engine manufacturer also known as Salyut or Salut, to discuss cooperation on the development of the engine for the Chengdu J-20, China's first stealth fighter, the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po reported on Nov. 11.
The visit of the Chinese delegation was first reported on Salyut's official website on Oct. 31. The delegation was led by Xu Qiliang, the vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China, according to the company's website, and was accompanied by Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister. Vladislav Masalov, the general director of Salyut, stressed the importance of Russia's cooperation with China in developing the new aircraft engine.
With the permission of the Russian government, Xu and his delegation was allowed to visit Salyut's workshop, engine testing facility, production line and museum. Back in 2005, representatives from Beijing signed a contract worth US$300 million with Salyut to purchase 100 AL-31FN engines. It was the largest sale for Rosoboronexport, the state intermediary agency for Russia's exports/imports of defense-related and dual use products, technologies and services, in 2005. By 2006, another contract was signed between Salyut and Shenyang Liming Aero-Engine Group Corporation to produce engines for Chinese aircraft.
As the Chengdu J-20 does not as yet have an adequate engine, it is believed by many experts in Russia that the fighter is likely to be equipped with the more advanced AL-31FM1. Wen Wei Po said that through investing with Russia in an engine plant, China will eventually gain the know-how it needs to design its own high-performance engines in the future. In turn, the trade and investments will help Russia's
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