China’s answer to foreign aviation companies has been anticipated for a while and it has now been reported that the country has completed the production of the largest seaplane in the world. Chinese state-run aircraft makers, Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has unveiled the first of the AG 600 models on Saturday in the southern port city of Zhuhai, according to the reports of the official Xinhua news agency.
According to AVIC’s deputy general manager Geng Ruguang, the AG 600 is nearly as big as the Boeing 737, which is far larger than any other seaplane that has built so far. It measures 37 meters (121 feet) in length with a wingspan of 39 meters (128 feet). The amphibious aircraft has a maximum range of 4,500 kilometres. It can collect 12 tonnes of water in 20 seconds and has a maximum take-off weight of 53.5 tonnes. It is intended for fighting forest fires aerially and performing marine rescues. According to reports, the manufacturers are directing the plane at the domestic market which will be useful in developing marine resources and environmental monitoring. The aircraft that has been described as “flying ship” has reportedly drawn interest from countries like New Zealand and Malaysia. The company says that it has already received 17 orders for the AG 600.
The seaplane has been hailed as “the latest breakthrough in China’s aviation industry, which demonstrates an overall improvement of China’s national strength and research capacity.” Indeed it may play a crucial role in the keen, strategic approach that China is taking towards developing new projects along offshore waters, many of which have contributed to various international disputes and controversies that the country is presently caught up in. Nevertheless, the new plane may be expected to have an important part to play in China’s rapidly developing aviation sector.