China’s Shenyang Aircraft Company has reportedly begun utilising Additive Manufacturing on next-generation warplanes, with AM parts widely used on a newly developed aircraft that recently underwent its maiden flight. According to Global Times, other Chinese aircraft makers are also taking advantage of AM, through improved lightweighting, increased lifespan, and lower cost components.
“We are applying 3D printing technologies on aircraft on a large scale at an engineering level, and we are in a world-leading position,” Doctor Xiaodan Li, a member of the Luo Yang Youth Commando at Shenyang Aircraft Company’s Craft Research Institute, is reported to have told China Central Television (CCTV).
The Luo Yang Youth Commando used the latest AM equipment to produce components used by China’s new-generation warplanes, CCTV reported. “3D printed parts were widely used on a newly developed aircraft that has made its maiden flight not long ago,” CCTV quoted Li as saying.
The Shenyang Aircraft Company is a subsidiary of the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China and has built many combat warplanes for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), from the country’s first generation J-5 fighter jet to the modern J-15 carrier-based fighter jet and the J-16 multirole fighter jet.
It also developed China’s second stealth fighter jet, the FC-31, a version of which is expected to be further developed into China’s next generation carrier-based fighter jet, according to analysts.
“3D printing technologies have now been implemented in major aircraft manufacturing factories of the Chinese aviation industry, making China a country to use such technologies on a large scale,” the CCTV report said.