China's home made developed AG600 amphibious aircraft has taken its maiden flight Saturday.
Launched from the southern city of Zhuhai, the AG600 was designed to extinguish forest fires and carry out rescue missions at sea. Further, it could also be used to monitor and protect the ocean, various media reported Sunday.
The AVIC AG600, also known as TA-600, is a large amphibious flying boat that is being designed and built in China by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), which started work on the prototype AG600, has announced that the aircraft will have a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5 t (53,500 kg; 118,000 lb) and a maximum range of over 5,000 km (3,100 mi). Furthermore, It was also stated that the aircraft would have a wingspan of 38.8 metres (127 ft) and would be equipped by four turboprop engines.
The first flight was initially forecast for 2015 but was postponed until the first half of 2017. The forward fuselage was completed in 2015.The prototype was rolled out on 23 July 2016 at the Zhuhai AVIC factory.
AVIC states that the AG600 will be suitable for aerial firefighting dropping 12 tonnes of water, and search and rescue operations for 50 passengers.
The manufacturer also has mentioned that they expect export sales of the aircraft, including the island countries New Zealand and Malaysia, who are already keen on the amphibious aircraft.
The seaplane's maiden flight follows amid China's increasing assertiveness to its territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea where it is building airfields and deploying military equipment.
Similarly on 26 April, China has launched its first domestically built aircraft carrier designed and built in the northeast port of Dalian. It was China's second aircraft carrier, which comes after the Liaoning, a refitted former Soviet Union-made carrier that was put into commission in the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy in 2012.