BEIJING, May 25 (Xinhua) -- China's indigenously developed amphibious aircraft AG600, which is the largest in the world, will set out for sea for the first time in the second half of the year, its developer said Monday.
Codenamed Kunlong, it is designed to undertake emergency rescue missions. The aircraft will have its maiden sea takeoff in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, said state-owned plane maker Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
The development of the vessel also represents a major breakthrough for China in terms of natural disaster prevention and control.
The multi-tasking amphibious aircraft is designed for high speeds, accessibility and good maneuverability. It is capable of serving in various missions including forest fire fighting, water rescue and maritime rescue, according to the AVIC.
With the capability to rescue up to 50 people on each mission, the AG600 is designed for heavy loads and extensive and high-efficiency searches.
The AG600 conducted its maiden flight in December 2017, and completed its first takeoff and landing on water in October 2018.
To prepare for the maiden sea takeoff, it has completed multiple test flights over the sea so that crew members can become familiar with the air space and marine environment, according to the AVIC.
The development team and test flight team have optimized the aircraft, trained the test flight pilots, and made preparations for the test flights to be undertaken in a maritime environment.
The AG600, together with the Y-20 large transporter and C919 single-aisle passenger airplane, is part of China's key project to develop three large airplane models.
With long range and long haul capabilities, the AG600 can shuttle between the fire site and water source efficiently, each time carrying as much as 12 tonnes of liquid. The AG600 is designed to work in complex weather conditions.
By developing such large amphibious aircraft and testing them, China explores and masters key technologies and airworthiness review systems, gaining independent intellectual property rights in the process, said the AVIC.