China completes building of world’s largest seaplane

  • State-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) finished the production of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft
  • The new aircraft was dubbed as the AG600 and has a maximum range of 4,500 km (2,800 miles)
  • China is planning to utilize AG600 in developing and exploiting marine resources

BEIJING, China – China finished the production of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft; the latest effort of the country to free itself from being dependent on foreign aviation firms.

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), a firm owned and run by the Chinese government, revealed the first of the new planes in the southern port city of Zhuhai last Saturday.

Japan Times mentioned in an article that the new aircraft was dubbed as the AG600, and has a maximum range of 4,500 km (2,800 miles) and is intended to be used for forest fires emergencies and performing marine rescues.

Geng Ruguang, who is AVIC’s deputy general manager, said that AG600 is far larger than any other plane built for marine takeoff and landing. By comparison, AG600 has the same size of a Boeing 737.

However, the new aircraft’s wingspan is considerably smaller than that of the H-4 Hercules, which is known as the Spruce Goose.

Built in the 1940s, Spruce Goose which was designed to carry Allied troops into battle has by far been considered as the largest seaplane ever built.

An article by Kalyani Pandey for International Business Times said China is planning to utilize AG600 in developing and exploiting marine resources, as well as for “environmental monitoring, resource detection, and transportation.”

China is currently locked in disputes with several neighboring Asian countries such as Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, over the rights to develop economic resources in waters off its shores.

The AG600 could potentially extend China’s ability to conduct a variety of operations in the South China Sea, especially those areas where it has built a series of artificial islands.

AVIC revealed that they have received 17 orders for the plane so far.

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