China Nearing Completion on World's Largest Operational Seaplane

  • Mar 18, 2015 12:16pm GMT

With a wingspan of 130ft, the AG-600 will become the world's largest amphibious aircraft currently flying, surpassing Japan's ShinMaywa US-2 and Russia's Beriev Be-200, according to the designers.

The AVIC TA-600, also known as AG-600, and formerly the D-600, is a large amphibious flying boat that is being designed and built in the People's Republic of China by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group and will be delivered to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft in Guangdong's Zhuhai for the AG-600's final assembly.

The TA-600 is reportedly the largest amphibious aircraft currently being built. CAIGA, which has started work on the prototype TA-600, has announced that the aircraft will have a maximum takeoff weight of 118,000 lbs and a maximum range of over 3,100 miles via four turboprop engines. First flight is forecast for sometime in 2016.

"The AG-600 will meet China's urgent need for such equipment in forest fire control and maritime search and rescue, and it will form an important part of the country's emergency response and rescue system," said Huang Lingcai, chief designer of the aircraft at the Zhuhai company. "It can carry nearly 60 people during a search-and-rescue mission. To extinguish a forest fire, it can pick up 12 tons of water from a nearby lake or sea within 20 seconds and pour it on the fire."

He added that his company has received 17 orders from domestic customers, including several private general aviation enterprises.

Note: The above article details the largest OPERATIONAL seaplane, not to be confused with the largest ever seaplane, of which there are many including the most famous, 'Spruce Goose'.