A herculean aircraft takes to the skies as China's AG600, the world's largest amphibious aircraft successfully completes a one-hour flight out of Zhuhai city. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the developer of the aircraft said the aircraft lifted off from the Jinwan Civil Aviation Airport in Zhuhai in Guangdong and it lasted for an hour. State-run China Central Television broadcast live coverage of the test flight.
The congratulatory message said the maiden flight was a major breakthrough in developing special-purpose aircraft following the first flight of the large C919 passenger jet in May. The first flight was in 1986 and the project was suspended.
The amphibious aircraft will mainly be tasked with performing aerial firefighting and maritime search and rescue.
While the aircraft has obvious military applications, Beijing says it will be used for firefighting and marine rescue. The 37-meter-long plane is around the size of a Boeing 737 and has a wingspan of 38.8 meters.
The launch of the new amphibious aircraft further strengthens China's rapidly modernising military.
The aircraft can take off and land on both ground and water.
Created to be the world's largest amphibious aircraft, the AG600 will be mainly used for maritime rescue, fighting forest fires and marine monitoring.
The company said the aircraft will be of great importance to the country's emergency rescue system and the building of a strong sea power, noting that tens of thousands of researchers and engineers from almost 200 domestic institutes, universities and enterprises took part in the project.