TEHRAN (Press Shia) – China successfully conducted high-speed water taxiing trials with its new indigenously designed seaplane called Kunlong (Water Dragon) AG600.
China’s Kunlong (Water Dragon) AG600 has successfully conducted high-speed water taxiing trials on the Zhanghe reservoir near Jingmen city in the country’s Hubei province on October 1, according to local media reports.
The recently completed successful taxiing trials are an indication that the AG600 is inching closer to its first take-off and landing on water. In August, the AG600 made a ground training flight from an airport in the city of Zhuhai in south China’s Guangdong Province, to an airport in Jingmen, a city in central China’s Hubei Province, The Diplomat reported.
The Boeing 737-sized AG600 plane—thought to be the world’s largest amphibious aircraft—was rolled out at an Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) plant in the southern city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province in July 2016, following five years of development. (The construction of the prototype began in 2014.)
The AG600, powered by four WJ-6 turboprop engines, is 37 meters long and has a wingspan of 38.8 meters. It can carry 50 people and can stay airborne for up to 12 hours. The plane’s maximum take-off weight is 53.5 tons, its maximum cruising speed 500 kilometers per hour, and the maximum operational range without refueling about 4,500 kilometers, according to AVIC.
As claimed by the plane’s developers, the AG600 only requires a water depth of 2.5 meters for landing and take-off and could be used for long-range patrols, anti-submarine warfare, and mine-laying missions.
The certification process, which evaluates the airworthiness of the AG600, is expected to be concluded by 2021 with deliveries commencing in 2022. While no international customer has come forward to date, the Chinese government has placed an order for an initial batch of 17 aircraft.