CGI of AG-600 amphibious aircraft
Huang Lingcai, the chief designer, said the AG-600 will play an important role in forest fire control, maritime search and rescue, personnel and supply transport and law enforcement tasks at sea.
He said that the plane can fly a round trip between Sanya in Hainan province and the shoal of Zengmu Ansha, the southernmost point of China's territory, without refueling.
The AG-600 can carry 50 people during a maritime search and rescue mission. To extinguish forest fires, it can take on 12 metric tons of water from a lake or sea within 20 seconds and pour it on the fire.
The project was launched in September 2009. The aircraft's debut flight is planned for the first half of next year, according to a statement by the company, a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corp of China.
Powered by four turboprop engines, it will be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, surpassing Japan's ShinMaywa US-2 and Russia's Beriev Be-200, Huang said.
It will have a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 tons and an operational range of about 4,500 kilometers.
China has decommissioned all of its seaplanes - reportedly as many as five SH-5 maritime patrol amphibious aircraft, he said.
CCTV report on AG-600
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