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World's largest amphibious aircraft completes maiden flight successfully

World's largest amphibious aircraft completes maiden flight successfully

World's largest amphibious aircraft completes maiden flight successfully

"The maiden flight makes China among the few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft", PTI quoted Huang Lingcai, chief designer of AG600 as saying.

With a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tons and powered by four turboprop engines, the AG600 will be able to collect 12 tons of water in 20 seconds for firefighting missions and will be able to rescue up to 50 people far offshore, according to the AVIC. The first flight was in 1986 and the project was suspended.

It took around eight years for State-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC) [SASADY.UL] to develop the aircraft.

"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.

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It can also be used as an anti-submarine patrol aircraft, according to the reports. The collection of submerged rocks lies roughly 80 kilometres from Malaysia's coastline and about 1,800 kilometres from the Chinese mainland.

"The plane's capacity and manoeuvrability makes it ideal for transporting materiel to those maritime features that are too structurally fragile to support runways".

China's policy on the South China Sea is hotly contested by a number of neighbouring countries and. The AG600 is the third member of China's "large aircraft family" following the large freighter Y-20 and large passenger aircraft C919, which made maiden flights in 2013 and 2017. China spent $215 billion (181 billion euros) on military in 2016, well ahead of India at $56 billion and Japan at $46 billion.

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