Chinese J-10 fighter plane
A J-10 fighter jet belonging to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force is seen on display with different types of rockets ahead of the 10th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, Nov. 10, 2014. REUTERS/Alex Lee


  • The flight is said to have taken place recently at Chengdu's primary test airfield
  • However, there has been no official confirmation
  • Rumors about a WS-15-powered J-20 have been circulating for some time

A Chinese J-20 stealth fighter has reportedly conducted its maiden flight equipped with two new domestically developed WS-15 jet engines.

If the reports, cited by The Drive, are accurate, then this would mark a significant milestone in the ongoing advancement of the J-20 aircraft and the development of the WS-15 turbofan engines – which could potentially enhance the J-20's performance and capabilities.

However, International Business Times cannot independently confirm the report.

Images and videos purportedly showing the test flight of the Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter with the new WS-15 jet engines have been circulating on social media. According to reports, the test flight took place recently at the manufacturer's primary test airfield in the city of Chengdu. However, there is no official confirmation regarding the authenticity of the footage.

According to The Drive, earlier versions of the J-20 utilized Russian-made AL-31 turbofans. An examination of the exhaust nozzles in the new J-20 aircraft can confirm the presence of WS-15 engines. These nozzles often exhibit characteristics unique to specific engine models, the outlet said.

"What I find interesting is, when I saw that video it was one of my first impressions, the sound is different to a WS-10C, more of a dull, deep rumble," Andreas Rupprecht, a Chinese military aviation expert wrote on Twitter after watching a clip.

Some images of the jet purportedly powered by WS-15 engines receiving special attention after its flight do add some weight to the claims. Additionally, a banner displaying the number 15, seen in one of the images, further suggests a potential association with the WS-15 engine.

The most powerful afterburning variants of the WS-10 engine currently known are estimated to have a maximum thrust in the range of 32,000 to 35,000 pounds. These variants of the WS-10 engine are recognized for their notable thrust capabilities. Additionally, certain iterations of the WS-10 engine incorporate thrust vectoring, enabling enhanced maneuverability for the aircraft. The ongoing development of advanced engine technologies plays a vital role in improving the overall performance and capabilities of fighter aircraft such as the J-20.

Rumors about a WS-15-powered J-20 have been circulating for some time.

In March 2022, the South China Morning Post reported that a J-20 aircraft equipped with a WS-15 engine had undergone a test flight. However, it was believed that only one WS-15 engine was installed during the initial testing phase. Subsequently, in December 2022, online images surfaced, seemingly depicting an improved variant of the J-20.

"The mass production of WS-10 and WS-15 [engines] delivery has been achieved," Zhang Yong, a project director at the Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials, said at an event in March , according to a report from Janes.