China has begun developing its next-generation jet with a large wing-shaped nose, an increased tail, and a large engine, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Thursday.
The plane, called the X-7, will use a large turboprop engine and a propeller that could generate about 400,000 pounds of thrust, the agency said.
The X-8, also under development, would use a smaller engine and use a longer propeller.
China is in the midst of its biggest air show in years.
The state-controlled Xinhua said the X, an eight-passenger aircraft with a maximum speed of about 300 knots, would go into production next year.
It was first proposed in the late 1990s by a Chinese entrepreneur named Wang Zheng, who later sold it to China National Aviation Corporation, or CNAC, in 2013 for $7 billion.
It has not yet received a green light from the Chinese government.
The Chinese government, which owns and operates most of China’s domestic and foreign airlines, has been considering the X for years.
In 2015, Beijing announced that it would begin to build aircraft with an improved jet engine by 2019, but that it did not have enough money to complete the work.
China has not revealed the size of the new engine, but it is expected to be smaller than the current C-5 turboprops and about as big as the Boeing 737 MAX.