China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga), a subsidiary of state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic), has started the “trial production” of a prototype for the new business jet it is planning to develop based on the existing Cirrus Vision SF50 design. Caiga acquired U.S.-based Cirrus Industries in 2011.
The Chinese manufacturer has also confirmed that the so-called China New Generation Business Jet is to be powered by the new Jiuzhai turbofan being developed by Avic China Gas Turbine Establishment. The new engine was made public during November’s Airshow China in Zhuhai. Soon after the show, China’s soon-to-be new president Xi Jinping visited Caiga’s factory in Zhuhai and, according to Chinese news reports, was shown the under-construction prototype for the six- to eight-passenger twinjet.
Chen Kuo-ming, senior editor with Taipei-based Defence International magazine, told AIN that not much is known about the Jiuzhai engine except for the limited information available at Airshow China. The engine can be used on a light jet such as the SF50, but it could have military applications as well. “The engine can power an unmanned aerial vehicle,” Chen said. Some Chinese reports said the engine could propel a cruise missile or a high-speed target drone.
The Jiuzhai powerplant looks similar to Pratt & Whitney Canada’s JT15D, but with reported thrust of around 2,315 pounds it would be less powerful than the most recent versions of the Canadian turbofan. The reported thrust to weight ratio is 4:1.