China tests new FL-62 wind tunnel

China’s new wind tunnel called FL-62, conducted its first operation last Tuesday by running a test for an undisclosed new aircraft which is likely to be a new jet fighter more advance than the J-20 and J-31, currently its top line jets.

Referring to the new aircraft, the J-20 jet’s chief designer Yang Wei had said in an earlier CCTV program that China will design a “very different aircraft in the future through true innovation.”

The flow field generated by the wind tunnel was stable and test data for the aircraft was gathered for the first time, the Aerodynamics Research Institute, under the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), announced in a statement on Tuesday as reported by Global Times.

China has commenced work on a next-generation fighter jet to  be unveiled by 2035 or earlier, reports in 2019 quoted Wang Haifeng, a chief architect at AVIC’s Chengdu Aircraft Research and Design Institute who also participated in the development of the J-20 and J-10 fighter jets.

China is eyeing a stealth jet that could guide a complement of drones from a stand-off distance. Earlier reports said the proposed jet would compete with the Franco-German FCAS or the British Tempest.

Approved for construction in 2012 and based in Shenyang, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province, the 6,620-ton, 17,000-cubic meter machine is China’s first large continuous transonic wind tunnel. It is a fundamental and strategic facility crucial to China’s aviation industry, as it will decide the shape of China’s future warplanes, according to information AVIC released previously.

With the data, aircraft developers could optimize the aircraft’s aerodynamic design, giving it better performance in speed, range, maneuverability and stealth, the expert said, noting that a more advanced wind tunnel will also likely reduce the development time because the data it generates will be more accurate.

Before its first operation on Tuesday, the FL-62 ran a final test on itself on Sunday, in which data showed it had reached a required standard, the institute’s statement on Tuesday said.

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