China's 1st homegrown amphibious aircraft completes its maiden flight

AG600: The world´s largest amphibious aircraft takes off in China
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AG600: The world´s largest amphibious aircraft takes off in China 0

Cheering crowds watched as the AG600 took to the skies today (Sunday, December 24) for its maiden flight.

A Chinese amphibious aircraft, the largest in production, has made a successful one-hour maiden flight.

The AG600, the first large specialist civil aircraft developed entirely in China, is capable of multiple tasks, such as fighting forest fires and conducting rescue and relief operations at sea, according to the Guangzhou Daily.

The AG600 is one of the three large-size aircraft borne from the nation's ambitious effort to become a top-tier player in the global aviation sector, joining the Y-20 strategic transport plane, delivery of which to the Chinese Air Force began in July 2016, and the C919 narrow-body jetliner that is being flight tested.

The AG600's flight capabilities put all of China's island-building projects in the South China Sea well within range.

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The reports also say that the AG600 can be used for marine environment surveys.

The 39.6-meter aircraft is powered by four domestically- built turboprop engines, according to its developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

"Its 4,500km operational range and ability to land and take off from water makes it well suited for deployment over China's artificial islands", said Military Analyst James Char of Singapore's' Nanyang Technological University. The Government and the Communist Party of China congratulated the team responsible for creating the aircraft, which they considered a milestone in the history of national aeronautics.

Beijing's claims on nearly the entirely of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in annual trade passes, is strongly contested by other countries.

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