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China: advancement on AG600 large amphibious aircraft


China's indigenously developed AG600 large amphibious aircraft has achieved continuous progress with multiple test planes entering the manufacturing phase, according to its developer.

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China advancement on AG600 large amphibious aircraft 1 AG600 at the 2016 Airshow China (Picture source: Wikipedia)


Major large parts of the No 3 AG600 test aircraft and some test parts for iron-bird tests have recently entered the manufacturing phase, said state-owned planemaker the Aviation Industry Corporation of China.

These major large parts include the nose, middle fuselage and rear fuselage of the AG600 test aircraft, which will carry out the following tests for the large amphibious aircraft model.

Iron bird tests are essential to the designer and the authorities to verify an aircraft model, major parts and airborne systems on the ground.

Designed to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 is powered by four domestically built turboprop engines and has a range of 12 hours, according to Huang Lingcai, chief designer of AG600. It will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.

The AG600 can carry 50 people during search-and-rescue missions, collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds for firefighting and transport up to 370 tonnes of water on a single tank of fuel.

The aircraft is designed to have a range of 12 hours and an operational range up to 4,500 kilometers. It is also capable of takeoff and landing in 2-meter waves. "That means AG600 can land on and take off from water in China's islands in the South China Sea, which are well within range," Huang said.

As the "youngest" one of China's large aircraft family, AG600 conducted its maiden flight on Dec.24, 2017 at Zhuhai Jinwan Airport,  its first takeoff from a water reservoir in 2018, and its maiden flight over sea in 2020.