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AVIC rolls out first AG600 amphibian

Chinese aviation conglomerate AVIC has rolled out the first AG600 large amphibious aircraft.

China’s official Xinhua news agency says that the aircraft rolled out from its production facility in Zhuhai on 23 July.

At 36.9m long and with a 38.8m wingspan, the AG600 - previously known as the TA-600 - pips the ShinMaywa US-2 for the title of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft. It will have a maximum takeoff weight of 53.5t on paved runways, or 49.8t from choppy sea conditions.

It is powered by four Chinese-produced Ivchenko WJ-6 turboprop engines, and is assembled by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft.

AVIC has said previously that it aims for the AG600 to make its maiden flight by the end of the year.

The aircraft is being developed for search and rescue and firefighting roles, and AVIC has previously indicated that it does not expect to produce it in large numbers. It has reportedly garnered orders for 17 of the type, all of which are understood to be domestic government agencies, including the country’s coast guard.

Publications shown at previous Zhuhai air shows indicate that AVIC is also planning to develop maritime surveillance and cargo variants of the aircraft.

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