China's independently-developed AG600 large amphibious aircraft has gained significant progress by completing critical flight tests and getting the first batch of purchase agreements, the developer announced on Tuesday.
The AG600M aircraft, a full-configuration firefighting model belonging to the AG600 aircraft family, successfully conducted pivotal tests Tuesday morning, including scooping and dropping water, said the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), the country's leading plane-maker.
At 10:05 a.m., the AG600M aircraft carrying 12 tonnes of water took off from the ground runway at Zhanghe Airport in Jingmen, central China's Hubei Province.
It consecutively conducted the flight tests of aerial water dropping, landing on a nearby reservoir and taxiing scooping, taking off again and dropping water over the preset area, and then successfully landing at the reservoir at 10:16 a.m., said the AVIC.
The very day, AVIC General Huanan Aircraft Industry Co., Ltd., signed the first batch of purchase agreements on four AG600M aircraft with Everbright Financial Leasing Co., Ltd., and signed an intent purchase agreement on two AG600M aircraft with the HNCA Aviation Equipment Leasing Co., Ltd., respectively.
The successful completion of flight tests and obtaining purchase agreements marked that the AG600 amphibious aircraft's key mission capabilities have been verified, and could open the market, said He Shengqiang, AVIC deputy general manager.
Both major moves highlighted that China's independently-developed aeronautical equipment could support the country's emergency rescue capabilities, said He.
Codenamed Kunlong, or water dragon in Chinese, the AG600 is vital aeronautical equipment for China's emergency-rescue system. It plays roles in serving forest firefighting, maritime search and rescue, and other critical emergency rescue missions.
The AG600M is specifically designed to combat forest fires. Its maximum take-off weight is 60 tonnes, with the water-carrying capacity up to 12 tonnes and the flight range reaching 4,500 km. It can conduct low-altitude flight at low speed, enabling it to drop water more precisely over the fire sites.
Following up, the AG600M will enter the airworthiness phase. More variants of the AG600 aircraft family are under development, said the developer.
The AVIC commits to sustaining the country's emergency rescue system and ensuring people's life and property by pushing forward the aircraft's progress and other vital aeronautical equipment.