Business / Industries

China's aero-engine manufacturing set for take-off

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-03-11 11:23

BEIJING - China has made up its mind to boost the domestic aero-engine industry as a state-level major project, targeting to relieve the nation from its lasting pain in the "heart of plane" and economic pressures.

The country listed aero-engine and gas turbine manufacturing as a major state-level project in the draft 13th Five-year plan (2016-2020) submitted to the national legislature.

"The aero-engine is the power plant of the aircraft and a powerful propeller for the country's domestic aviation industry," said Liu Daxiang, China's leading aero-engine expert and academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

"This move shows China's resolve to conquer the domestic aircraft industry."

China is seeking new growth drivers to offset downward pressure as the country continues its development under the "new normal."

The aircraft engine industry offers a chance for China to boost the economy while strengthening its defense manufacturing and pioneering technological innovation.

"It is highly anticipated aero-engines will help pioneer China's mid-and-long term development," Liu said.

China will continue supply-side structural reforms and foster new growth engines through innovation and entrepreneurship, according to a government work report delivered by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Fourth Session of the ongoing 12th National People's Congress.

The government will set up state-level innovation platforms this year, Li said.

The draft plan was presented to the ongoing annual parliamentary meetings for review. A few days before this, the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) posted a news on its website, releasing about the personnel appointment of a new state-owned aero-engine corporation, which is in preparation.

Industry insiders explain this move as the China aero-engine corporation has entered a substantial phase of establishment.

According to a strategy outline released by the AVIC, China plans to catch up or surpass their western peers in 20 years. The plan outlined three phases for development; First it will fill a vacancy, then it will catch up, and finally they plan to become equals.

"Strong growth engines push a nation to be more powerful. It is of great strategic significance and opportunity for China to boost the domestic aero-engine industry," said Liu.

The aero-engine project will be a major move for China, according to industry insiders. Requiring heavy investment and high risk over a long period, success requires strong leadership and coordination of several industries.

The aero-engine industry is often used to gauge a country's manufacturing level. It involves hundreds of different fields from precision manufacturing and material science to automatic controls.

In the past, it has been highly-monopolized by a few countries which have mastered the core technologies. Now it's up to Chinese professionals to crack the core technologies.

"The independent capacity of the aero-engine and gas turbine will surely boost China's aviation industry, as well as a strong engine for the economic transformation and upgrading," Liu said, adding he believes the country's choice will create a "strong heart" for homemade aircraft.

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