Beijing: China has completed production of the world’s largest amphibian aircraft, AG600, that it plans to use to fight forest fires and perform marine rescue operations.
The AG600 rolled off a production line in the southern city of Zhuhai on Saturday in what aviation observers see as a milestone for the country, reports Xinhua.
The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes, a maximum cruising speed of 500 km per hour, a maximum flight range of 4,500 km, and a maximum endurance of 12 hours, according to state aircraft maker the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The 37-meter-long AG600 with a wingspan of 38.8 meters is by far the world’s largest amphibian aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, according to AVIC Deputy General Manager Geng Ruguang.
In addition to taking off and landing like an ordinary plane, the AG600 can also take off and land from stretches of water that are at least 1,500 meters long, 200 meters wide and 2.5 meters deep.
It can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds, and transport up to 370 tonnes of water on a single tank of fuel.
It took nearly seven years by a group of 70 aircraft component manufacturers and research teams with over 150 institutes from 20 provinces and municipalities in China to complete this project.
“The AG600 is like a ship that can fly, with advanced gas-water dynamic engineering and underwater corrosion resistance technology,” said Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the plane.