Chinese state airframer AVIC is making progress with the firefighting version of its MA60 twin turboprop.

The firefighting version is well on its way to Chinese certification following a test flight during which it dropped 6t of water, according to a report by state news agency Xinhua quoting AVIC.

MA60 dropping water

Source: AVIC

The MA60 dropping 6t of water. As in other countries, forest fires are a concern in China

The drop was conducted from an altitude of just 180ft in China’s western Sichuan province.

The report adds that 6t is the maximum water carrying capacity of the MA60, and that previous flight tests with smaller volumes of water led up to the maximum capability test.

The MA60 is not the only large firefighting aircraft that China has in development.

The developmental AG600 – the world’s largest amphibian – has demonstrated the capability of dropping 12t of water.

As for the MA60, which is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127s, Cirium fleets data suggests that the largest operator is Joy Air, which is majority owned by an AVIC’s Xian Aerospace unit, which also produces the MA60.

Joy Air operates 21 examples, followed by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, which operates 16. The MA60 is also serves with several air forces in the developing world.