Watch: China rolls out world's largest amphibious aircraft
After seven years of development, the state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China rolled out world‘s largest amphibious aircraft the AG600, that will be used for rescue operations for 50 passengers and firefighting missions.
The aircraft is roughly the size of a Boeing 737. It measures 37 meters (121 feet) in length, its wingspan is 39 meters (128 feet). AG600 has a maximum flight range of 2,800 miles and can collect 12 tons of water in 20 seconds. Aircraft's maximum take-off weight is 53.5 tons.
Geng Rugang, AVIC deputy general manager, said the aircraft was "the latest breakthrough in China's aviation industry." The aircraft is made for the domestic market and will be is expected to be used for environmental monitoring, resource detection, and transportation.
AVIC representatives state, the aircraft has received 17 orders and first flight is expected by the end of 2016.
The roll out of the aircraft comes during China‘s disputes with neighboring nations, including Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, over economic rights in South China Sea as well as construction of artificial islands. The country has been heavily criticised for constructing artificial islands with runways for both civilian and military aircraft because of the prospects that fighter jets and other military machinery could be based there. AG600 will extend China's ability to conduct missions in the region.
In the last year, China has made a big step forward in the aviation industry, being on the way to reduce the dependence on foreign aircraft manufacturers, such as Boeing and Airbus.
In November 2015, China rolled out first domestically developed narrow-body airplane C919, seating up to 168 passengers.
In June 2016, China’s first domestically produced regional aircraft ARJ21 successfully made its first passenger flight from Chengdu to Shanghai, carrying 70 passengers on board.
Earlier this July, domestically built transport aircraft Y-20 has been put into service. The four-engined Y-20 has a maximum take-off the load of 200 tonnes and can fly up to 7,800 km partially loaded.
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