China produces world’s largest amphibious aircraft
China has completed production of the world’s largest amphibious aircraft. The latest effort in the country’s programme to wean itself off dependence on foreign aviation firms.
China’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China (Avic) unveiled the first of the new planes, dubbed the AG600, on Saturday in the southern port city of Zhuhai. The aircraft, which has a maximum range of 4,500 kilometres, is intended for fighting forest fires and performing marine rescues, it said.
The plane, which is targeted at China’s domestic market, will be "very useful in developing and exploiting marine resources", Xinhua said, adding that it could be used for "environmental monitoring, resource detection and transportation".
The AG600 has the potential to extend China’s ability to perform marine operations in the South China Sea, where it has built a series of artificial islands featuring airstrips, among other infrastructure with the potential for either civilian or military use.
China is seeking to develop its home grown aviation sector in order to reduce dependence on global players like Airbus and Boeing, although it could take years.
SOURCE: [The National]