China-made AG600M amphibious aircraft fully enters flight test phase as precursor to securing the airworthiness certification
Published: Feb 25, 2023 07:38 PM
AG600M Photo: Gao Han

AG600M Photo: Gao Han

The fourth AG600M airplane, which is of the firefighting variant in China's indigenously developed AG600 large amphibious aircraft family, has successfully conducted a flight test in Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province, the Global Times learned from the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on Saturday.

As the fourth AG600M is the last aircraft in the production batch intended for research, , the success of the flight test on Saturday indicated that the aircraft will fully enter the flight test phase for securing the airworthiness certification.

During the test on Saturday, the plane flied stably in the air for 17 minutes and its various systems maintained stable condition, the AVIC said in a statement to the Global Times.

AG600M Photo: Gao Han

AG600M Photo: Gao Han

AVIC has built four AG600M firefighting aircraft for researching purposes. The first completed a flight test on the land on May 31, 2022, and another test on the water on August 29, 2022, according to the AVIC.

Codenamed Kunlong, or "water dragon" in Chinese, the AG600 aircraft family is being developed to serve emergency rescue missions. It can be used in forest firefighting, maritime search and rescue, and other critical emergency rescue missions.

A member of the AG600 family, the AG600M is specifically designed to combat forest fires. Its maximum take-off weight is 60 tons, with a water-carrying capacity of up to 12 tons and flight range of up to 4,500 kilometers. It can conduct low-altitude flying at low speed, enabling it to drop water accurately on fire sites.

This year is key for the development of AG600 aircraft. Aiming to make progress toward securing the airworthiness certification for the firefighting variant in 2024 and for the rescue variant in 2025, the aircraft will be subjected to a series of tests in 2023, the Chinese manufacturer confirmed.