14:26 GMT07 May 2021
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    China’s new amphibious aircraft has rolled off the production line in the city of Zhuhai on Saturday. The AG600 is seen as a milestone in the country’s aviation sector.

    The aircraft has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tons, a maximum cruising speed of 500 km per hour and a maximum flight range of 4,500 km according to state aircraft maker the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

    The AG600 also has a maximum endurance of 12 hours with a wingspan of 38.8 meters, making it by far the world's largest amphibian aircraft, about the size of a Boeing 737, according to AVIC deputy general manager Geng Ruguang, China Daily reported.

    The aircraft can take off and land like an ordinary plane, but it 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.

    The aircraft is planned to be used to fight forest fires and perform marine rescue missions. According to the original design, it can collect 12 tons of water in 20 seconds and transport up to 370 tons of water on a single tank of fuel.

    According to China Daily the AG600 has excellent maneuverability and a fairly wide range of search scope. The aircraft is also capable of rescuing up to 50 people far offshore.

    A group of 70 aircraft component manufacturers and research teams from over 150 institutes from 20 different provinces and municipalities in China worked for nearly seven years to produce this aviation marvel.

    The development and production of the plane received government approval back in 2009.

    “The AG600 is like a ship that can fly, with advanced gas-water dynamic engineering and underwater corrosion resistance technology,” Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the aircraft was reported by China Daily as saying.

    The AG600 has been described as the latest leap forward in China's aviation industry, which shows an overall improvement of China's national strength and research capacity.


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