China's first large amphibious aircraft AG600 makes maiden flight

China AG600
China's first large amphibious aircraft AG600 makes maiden flight
Author

25 December, 2017

Created to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring. However, it made only one brief flight in 1947.

China's first home-grown large amphibious aircraft AG600 makes a smooth landing after its maiden flight in Zhuhai, south China's Guangdong Province, Dec. 24, 2017.

The success of AG600 strengthens China's modernizing military.

Even though it is about the size of a Boeing 737, the AG600 is still smaller than billionaire Howard Hughes' flying boat, the Spruce Goose, which had a wingspan of 318 feet.

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The aircraft can also be used for military purposes, including transporting supplies and military personnel to Chinese-controlled islands in the South China Sea, where Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping territorial claims, according to the reports. Earlier this month, the seaplane received the government's approval for Sunday's first flight. Among other features, it is created to be the largest of its kind in the world, can carry 50 people on rescue missions and carry 370 tons of water in each tank.

The company said the aircraft will be of great importance to the country's emergency rescue system and the building of a strong sea power, noting that tens of thousands of researchers and engineers from almost 200 domestic institutes, universities and enterprises took part in the project.

It took around eight years for State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) [SASADY.UL] to develop the aircraft. The seaplane's service will greatly improve China's capability to conduct maritime search and rescue, he said.

There are 17 orders already from within China. Zhang said the model primarily targets domestic buyers, but also will tap the worldwide market.


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