China’s home-grown AG600, also known as ‘Kunlong’, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft took off took off from the southern city of Zhuhai and landed after roughly an hour-long flight.
Its successful maiden flight makes China among the world’s few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft. It also further strengthens China’s rapidly modernising military.
The AG600 amphibious aircraft can land and take off from water. It has wingspan of 38.8 metres. It is powered by four turboprop engines.
It has been designed and built by China’s state-owned manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China. It is capable of carrying 50 people and can stay airborne for 12 hours. It has operational range of 4,500-km.
The aircraft has military applications but will be also used for firefighting and marine rescue. Its flight capabilities put all of China’s artificial island-building projects in disputed South China Sea (SCS) well within its range.