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​AIRSHOW CHINA: AVIC sees large amphibian as niche aircraft

AVIC hopes for its AG600 amphibian to complete its first flight around the end of 2015, with the aircraft mainly to serve in the search and rescue (SAR) and firefighting roles.

An AVIC representative confirmed a recent reports quoting company officials as saying the first flight would be at the end of 2015.

At the show the aircraft was referred to as the AG600, but other times AVIC, and media reports, have labelled it the TA-600.

The company plans for the type to have a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 53,500kg from a paved runway or calm water. For choppy water, the MTOW will be 49,800kg.

While AVIC has yet to disclose the number of orders it has received for the AG600, which will be produced in Zhuhai, it says that it does not expect the type to be produced in large numbers.

In addition, the company's main focus is on the first flight, and AVIC has yet to commit to a confirmed delivery date to the country's coast guard. AVIC does not see a market for the type with the country's military. Initially, there will be two variants, one optimised for the SAR mission, the other for firefighting. In the SAR mission, the AG600 will be able to carry 50 passengers.

In the firefighting mission, the aircraft can disgorge 12,000kg of water in a range between 12 to 20 seconds.

A Chinese-language publication distributed at the show suggests that AVIC is also considering missions such as surveillance and cargo.

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